Like all traditionally built structures, the Barapinang house had only openings for windows. Spiders provided protection from insects. Huge spiders had webs built over some of the windows, and all over the underside of the roof.
They were well fed. Thanks, spiders. We welcome you.
One afternoon, lying in my bed at Barapinang, I noticed some unusual activity in one of the spider webs. The spider in the web, a female (as always), was bouncing up and down, causing the whole web to shake.
Then I noticed another, much smaller spider (the male) over in the farthest corner of the web, watching intently.
Suddenly the male spider made a dash for the female, in the center of the web. The female scrambled toward him, causing him to retreat to the corner of the web. The female returned to the center of the web, and began stroking a spot in the middle of her body.
After a few minutes the male made another dash for the female, and again retreated when she chased him. This dance happened several times, with the female returning to the center of the web each time, and stroking that spot each time.
Finally the male made another dash and got to the female before she moved. He locked himself to the middle of her body for several long seconds. Then —
Suddenly separating from the female, he made one final dash for the edge of the web, with the female in hot pursuit. Once he was away from the web, the female returned to the web’s center.
This time, the male mated with the female and got away afterward without being caught, killed, and saved for a later meal.
Good on you, mate!