Si Lanna, A View from Route 1150

Si Lanna, A View from 1150
Si Lanna, A View from 1150

Si Lanna is a little known national park north of Chiang Mai in Thailand, between Route 107 to the west and Route 118 to the east. Thick deciduous forest covers the Doi Pha Sam Sao mountain range within the park, and springs and waterfalls are present throughout the area. A ride over the mountains from the 118 on route 1150 is rich with views over the surrounding countryside. The road is steep and there are hundreds of corners so make sure your bike is in good condition! The town of Phrao sits in the middle of the area where one can get fuel and refreshment before embarking on Route 1001 for a relatively unspoilt journey to the outskirts of Chiang Mai. In all, the 1150 was a perfect diversion to take on my way back from Chiang Rai.

 

 

Who lives at the bottom of the garden?

Indonesian Orb Weaver spider Argiope appensa
Indonesian Orb Weaver spider Argiope appensa

A real beauty. According to Wikipedia this type of Orb Weaver spider is typically found in Hawaii. This lady keeps watch amongst the plants outside our office in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia.

There is no explanation for why the spider’s body is bright yellow. Generally spiders do not signal venomosity through coloration. I am unclear as to whether this spider would offer a serious bite to a human. Certainly spiders of the genus Argiope will bite in self-defense, their venom known as argiotoxin, a class of polyamine.

I found the diagonal zigzag pattern of the spider’s web stabilimentum most intriguing. Who is it for? The spider, prey, or other low flying animals? What does it do? Reflect UV, attract mates, stabilize the web in high winds? And why is it that particular pattern?

Perhaps the spider enjoys the aesthetic quality of a well made web. After watching it ebb and flow under a light early morning breeze, I know I do. It is one of the classic designs of the natural world.