Monday, March 2, 2015

Gloria Salavarria
Gloria Salavarria
Gloria Salavarria inherited an itchy toe as well as math smarts from her father who spent his teen years as a hobo during the Great Depression. She learned from him the wisdom of working at something you truly love doing and so she spent her working years as a biochemist and an engineer. She retired in her 50s but after one week of retirement, her husband told her that she couldn’t go from supervising 40 guys down to supervising just one guy and expect that one guy to like it. She next became a freelance writer and photographer for The Elkhart Truth and after a few months, her husband again complained but this time he said that she was just like their tomcat—always “on the prowl” and never at home. Now a widow, she has traveled every continent except Antarctica and she plans on going there one of these days.


Our blogger, Gloria Salavarria, came across one incredibly tough spider while traveling in New Zealand.

Posted on Feb. 21, 2014 at 8:00 a.m.

I couldn’t help but notice the intricate spider web covering the side view mirror on the passenger side of my friend Jocelyn’s SUV and so I decided to do her a favor by cleaning this web off the mirror. What I didn’t reckon on was that pulling the web off the mirror was easy but getting rid of the web wasn’t. The tensile strength of this web was amazing and so I began to understand why Jo can drive as fast as she does and the web still remains on her mirror.

One tough spider. One tough web.


I tried to shake the web off my fingers and it stayed put—a sticky mass that clung to each of my fingers, my pants, and to everything and anything that I had the misfortune to touch. I couldn’t get rid of it. I found myself well and truly caught—and by an insect that was only 1/9000th my size!

I went over to the bushes and after fifteen minutes of thrashing about, I managed to get rid of the web on my hands but the web on my pants persisted, though diminished somewhat by the abrasion of my trying to rub it off me—only to rub it deeper into the fabric instead. I hope it will come out in the wash as I’m not looking for a sticky souvenir of New Zealand but somehow, I’m afraid I just found it.


Several years ago I read that spider webs have the greatest tensile strength of any material on this planet—bar none. I wondered if the scientists who came to this conclusion had included this particular breed of spider in their studies.

The feminist within me is very proud of this female spider. She has created a marvelous web—one that had kept a big bug like myself thoroughly stuck for more than 15 minutes. Gotta respect a bug this bad.

The next morning, the web was back and once more it covered the side screen as if it had never been disturbed.

This is one very hard-working female bug but she didn’t get any respect from my friend, Jocelyn.

Jo wanted this spider dead but it was nowhere to be seen and so I got a plastic fork from inside the car—a relic of several takeaway meals. I slipped the fork tines underneath and behind the mirror and worked my way around—mashing and hoping I had missed it.


The next day, the web was back and the spider herself gave me a cautious, multiple eyeball look-see from the lower left corner of the mirror. She’s a big spider. She’s also a smart and a very sturdy spider as spreading her web across a car’s side view mirror and holding out against the winds created by a car travelling sometime in excess of 100 kph (60 mph) takes a truly strong and persistent spider to survive these conditions but the pickings are fairly good, given the number of bugs on the windshield and in her web. She dines well.

Glad she’s only 1/9000th my size. Mankind would be in deep shit if this spider were our size—or vice versa.

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