Temple Valley, Tsurumi, Yokohama - It's that season again. The evidence is just about everywhere you might rest your eyes here in Temple Valley. In golden gossamer threads strewn across the path that leads to my door lie the lifeless bodies of suitors found most unworthy. Oh well, that's life. Well that's life if you're a male joro spider (Nephila Clavita). They say the "courtship" ritual for this colorful species of arachnid can take hours as the smaller male, exercising extreme patience, noiselessly creeps from behind to "surprise" the female before she senses his presence and turns to stop him literally dead in his tracks. While the dead carcass of a scorned lover might be a turn off for some, not so with these intrepid little buggers, for them the species must go on.
Nephilia Clavita has weaved a lasting impression into the public's imagination in Japan. For ages story tellers here have spun tales of mythical spider-like creatures with the ability to transform themselves into beautiful maidens who exist only to lure unwitting men into a venomous trap with their seductive charms. Sound familiar?