drink the sweet feeling of the colour zero

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  • Published: Jun 20th, 2010
  • Category: Rants
  • Comments: Comments Off on Does a love of evolution make me a softie?

Does a love of evolution make me a softie?

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I took the weekend off to go to the lake. Now, I don’t get to do this often, perhaps once every two or three weekends. In an effort to spruce the place up a tad, I bought some solar LED deck lights at the beginning of the season. They seem to work fine, and emit no heat that I can detect.

Having not been out for a few weekends, upon arrival at my lake lot, I found insects of various strips had taken up residence wherever they could find a niche. I took some time to get rid of a pair of wasp’s nests, and removed spider’s webs from my doorway. I did the cleaning and the yard work…but then I ran across something I just couldn’t get rid of.

Upon each of my deck lights was a complex lattice of spider’s webs. Very full spider’s webs. You can’t really appreciate it until nightfall, but these spiders were using the night time glow of the lights to lure bugs into their webs. They had discovered these light sources didn’t emit heat, and thus wouldn’t harm them. Instead, they spun their deadly traps, and used the mating instincts of other insects against them.

I was, and remain, deeply impressed. I could not clean these webs, could not unhome these intelligent arachnids. They have earned their place: they deserve to survive, to mate, and to propagate their line.

I felt a little touched; as though I was watching evolution in action. Somehow these spiders possessed a mutation denied their eight-legged brethren. Despite their fantastically small brains, they were able to take advantage of this “cold light,” something that should give them an edge over their cousins in the eternal game of genetic dominance.

I simply couldn’t intervene. I would love to see if a few generations of selective pressure end with more of the little blighters doing this on other “cold light” sources, or if the adaptation dies out.

I hope it doesn’t, I think it’s brilliant. Does that make me a softie?

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