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About Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922 | View Entire Issue (March 23, 1913)
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Copyright. 1913, by the Star Company. Great Britain nights Reserved.
eit Our. Eacth?
A Remarkable Photograph of the Spider
fcggs Up to the bun to Hatch.
Man Must Give Way to Some
Other Creature, Says H. G.
Wells, the English Philosopher,
and Maeterlinck, the Belgian,
Suggests the Hideous Insects,
"Born of a Demented Comet,"
as Man's Successors
THE intelligence of tfio insects be
comes a more fascinating and
disturbing problem tlio moro It
And now comes tho suggestion that tlio
Insects, and most probably tlio spldors, are
destined to supplant man as the rulers of
the earth. Tho suggeation gains support
from many scientific arguments. A very
remarkable biak, "Tho Llfo of tho Bpldor,"
by J. H. FaDro, a French naturalist of
surpassing genius, haB Just been published
by Dodd. Mead & Co.
It contains a long preface by Maurice
Maeterlinck, tho philosophic writer and
biographer of, tho bee, Ho advances, tho
Idea strongly that tho spider may bo dos
tlncd to bo our successor an earth. From
Maeterlinck's argumonts and Fabro'B ob
servations it appears that this insect is In
many ways much moro fitted to rulo the
earth than man.
Tho spider Is absolutely ruthless. It
posBCBscs a poison with which it can kill
or paralyzo any creature at will. It has
tireless Industry and knows nolthor lazi
ness nor Intemperance. It sustains lifo
with great oconomy. It Is novor led astray
by Its passions. It is a suporb architect
and craftsman. In Its ability to lloat
about on a lino of wob It Bhows itself to
havo learnt tho secret of tho aeroplano
ages ooioro man. ,
Having olght legn and eight eyes,
the spider is physically far superior
From tho construction of Its wob
there is reason to bellovo that it is
a suporb mathematician and goo
metrician. It nriPcarB to havo part
ly solved tho problem of obtaining
energy directly from tho sun, for
tho young are kept alive in that way
for flvo or six months. Notwith
standing tho mental capacity of
the spider, it is a ropulslve creature Man
has an instinctive antipathy to It To M.
Maeterlinck tho mallgnanco of tlio spider
suggests that It Is a creature from auothor
planet, whore life is wholly alien to ours.
The spider's matrimonial relations till him
"Tho marriage customs," he says, "aro
dreadful and, contrary to that which hap
pens in every otlior world, hero It is tho
female of the pair that stands for strength
and Intelligence and also for cruolty and
tyranny, which appear to bo their Inevit
able consequence. Almost evory wedding
ends in tho violent and immcdlato death
of tho husband. Often, tho brido begins
by eating a certain number of suitors.
"The archetypo of those fantastic unions
could bo supplied by the Languodoclan
scorpions, who, as wo know, carry lob-ster-liko
claWB and a long tall suppliod
with a sting, which is extremely danger
ous. They havo a preludo to tho festival
la tho shape of a sentimental stroll, claw
In claw, then, motionless, with ilugors
still gripped, thoy contemplate each other
blissfully, lntorminably; day and night
pass over tholr ecstasy whllo thoy remain
face to face, petrified with admiration.
"Next, the foreheads como togethor and
touch; tho mouthB it wo can glvo tho
name of mouth to tho monstrous oriflco
that opens between tho claws aro Jblned
In a sort of kiss; ufter which tho union Is
accomplished, the malo is transfixed with
a mortal sting and the terrlblo spouse
crunches and gobblos him up with gusto."
Another recent book, 'Tho Study of tho
B'uture," by H. O. WoIIb. (Published by
B. W. Huebsch, Now York.), lend strength
to the theory that the spider may bo man's
successor. Mr. Wells argues very forcibly
that man cannot be the ultimate form of
life on earth.
In "The Life of tho Spider," M. Fabre
gives us a complete biography of tho
black-bellied tarantula, tho most terrlblo
of all the Bplders. Here It should bo noted
that the author always speaks of tho
spider aa "she." She builds a wonderful
underground tunnel for a dwelling. At
four or five Inches from tho surface It
bends at an obtuse angle. It is at the
elbow of the tunnel that tho tarantula
posts herself as a vigilant sentry, watch
ing for victims and enomles.
The tarantula Is a clover architect. The
entrance of her burrow Is Burmounted,by
a shaft constructed throughout by herself.
It is a genuine- work of architecture,
standing as much as an inch above the
ground and two Inches In diameter, so
that (t Is wider than the burrow itseli,
of Nnrbonnc Holding Her
This arrangement lends Itself admirably to
tho necessary extension of tho logs at tho
moment when tho proy Is to bo seized.
Tho shaft is composed of lttlo bits of
wood Joined togothod by clay with perfect
strength and symmetry.
n o Duiiding is uphouterod with a Bllkon
Tho ability to build theso hnnsin u ri.,,i
only in individuals that havo reached a
cortaln intellectual development.
M. Fabro shows that tho tarantula Is
very cleanly and brushes away all tho ro
maius of her victims. Sho haB
the faculty of seeing by day and
The tarantulas Varo ferocious
nnd cunning lighters, and the
vjcior in a ngijt. nauitu&uy C'
voura mo orain or nisoncniy.
The Stalk-eyed Spider Nothing but a
Moved by an Alert, Cruel Intelligence
a custom like that of tho human head
hunters of Borneo.
"Ono day," says tho author, "I picked
out two full grown and very powerful
males and put thorn togethor In a wide
Jar. Aftor walking around tho arena bov-
cral times to try and avoid each other,
thoy made up tholr minds to light.
"I saw them, to my surprise, tako tholr
distances and sit up solemnly on their
bind logs, bo as mutually to presont tho
shlold of tholr chcBts to each other. Aftor
watching them face to faco llko that for
two minutes, during which thoy had pro
voked each othor by glances, I saw them
fling thomselvcs upon each othor, twUtlng
tholr legs togethor and struggling to blto
ono another with their' fangs.
"Whether from fatigue or from conven
tion, tho combat was suspended. There
waB a few seconds truce and each athlete
moved away and resumed his threatening
posturo. This circumstance reminded mo
that in the strango fights bctweon cats,
thero aro also suspensions of hostilities.
"Dut tho contest was soon renewed be
tween my two tarantulas with Increased
fierceness. Ono of them, after holding
victory in tho balance for a whilo, was at
last thrown and received a mortal wound
In the head. Ho became tho proy of the
conqueror, who tore open his skull and
devoured Its brains."
Every spidor mixes a poison that Is ex
actly suited for tho purposo in view. The
tarantula, which does not weave cords
to bind Its victims, needs a poison that
will kill instantly, or tho victim may es
cape or do damago to the homo. - Even
tho rnttlosnako's poison docs not kill so
quickly. It takes hours to accomplish
what tho tarantula does in less than a sec
ond. Tho tarantula kills by preference at
night or In the darkness, for It can then
tako Its victim entirely by surprise. M.
Fabro hung a fat and poworful carpenter
bee . before tho burrow of a Narbonne tar
antula until tho latter rushed out and
killed the bee.
''The tarantula's fangs are planted In
the nape of tho neck," saya M. Fabro.
"The assassin haB the knowledge which I
suspected. She has made for the essentially
vital centre. She has stung the insect's
cervical ganglia with her poison fangs.
In short, she has bitten the only point
where a lesion produces sudden death."
This tarantula's poison only produced
paralysis in the leg of a bird, but the
paralysis was permanent and ended in
death twelve hours later. A mol bitten
on the nos died In thlrty-stx hours.
Great Mechanical Body
Poised High Above It.
Evidently tho poison only produces sud
den death whon applied to the most son
sitlvo norve centres.
M. Fabro vory reasonably concludes that
tho tarantula is tho most scientific mur
derer of all tho wobloss spider family.
Sho places hor fangs upon tho cervical
norvo-centreB with an astonishing physio
logical knowlodgo and dexterity that no
human surgeon can show.
Tho Narbonno tarantula, aftor hatching
out her young, carrlea thorn on her back
for four or Ave months. Thoy number
hundreds, in spite of this trouble M.
Fabro decided that the spidor had no ma
ternal affection for hor young. She waB
KNOW that evory time tho word
"exorcUo" is mentioned ono foels
a bit weary. Wo are so tired of
systems of exorcises, of pursuing tho
treadmill of "Right ono, loft ono, up,
down, breathe," etc. And I think
that ospoclally In Iho case of a
woman or frail physique tho matter
of exorciso 1b ovordone.
But there Is Bomethlng of which
no ono over tiros. That is beauty.
And for tho culture and preserva
tion of beauty there must bo oxer
else. What exercise, and how much
of It, Is largely an Individual ques
tion, as, is food. One woman re
quires for tho maintenance of her
strength and beauty three full meals
a day. Somo neod to oat often and
little, and others get on comfortably
and thrive on two meals a day, with
possibly a glass of milk or an apple
or1 orange between those meals.
But as everyone noeds somo fruit,
some iron-containing foods, us spin
ach and string boans and beets,
plenty of water and somo bulky
cereals, as corn and wheat, so there
life in the dim future be like this ? Giant spiders ruling the world, and the pitful
remnants of mankind begging for life from their hideous conquerors?"
qulto .unconcerned whon somo of them fell
off and woro killed.
Tho naturalist proved tho astonishing
fact that tho Individuals of this family
would adopt themselves to tholr environ
ment, building houses of a kind tholr
the intermediary of
, food and passing
A Great West Indies Spider Paralyzing a Lizard with Its through tho Igno
Poison. The Spider's Extraordinary Knowledge of mlnlous circuit of
, Poisons I, One of the Things That Qualifies It f rJ0ct gf
as Man s Successor. iar energy pene-
are essential exorcises. Walking is
ono of these.
Count that day unwisely spent
that does not Include a walk, the
longer the better. But mark that I
said a walk, not a dawdle, nor a
saunter. One should walk briskly,
to assure deeper breathing than
usual. According to your strength
and the time at your disposal let
your walk be. English women like
a ten-mile daily trudge. American
women think two or three miles
enough. But the English women
have the better complexions. On
the other hand tho women of Amer
ica expend more nervous energy In
their conversation, their work and
play, iind because of that extra outgo
of nerve t wee it may be well to
expend less energy In walking. Tho
rule of how many miles you should
walk a day you mutt make for your
self, letting circumstances govern,
but having in mind that there should
be one walk a day to keep your skin
clear, your eyes bright and your
spirits norma'iy hljh
What Wells Says of Man's Successor
THE fact that man is not final is the great unmanageable, dis
turbing fact that arises upon us In the scientific discovery of
the future, and, to my mind at any rate, the question what is to
come after man is the most persistently fascinating and the most
insoluble question, in the whole world.
. 1 Of course, we have no answer. Such imaginations as we have
refuse to rise to the task.
What Maeterlinck Says of the Spider
THERE is something, on the other hand, about the insect thai
docs not seem to belong to the habits, the ethics, the psy
chology of our globe. One would be inclined to say that the
insect comes from another planet, more monstrous, more energetic,
more insane, more atrocious, more infernal than our own. One
would think that it was born of some comet that had lost its course
ana died demented in space.
There is, no doubt, in this astonishment and lack of understand
ing (of the spider) a certain instinctive and profound uneasiness
inspired by those existences incomparably better armed, better
equipped, than by our own, by those creatures made up of a sort of
compressed energy and activity in whom we Buspcct our most mys
terious adversaries, our ultimate rivals and, perhaps, our successors.
raco had never known before. He found,
for instance, that thoy constructed houses
of pebbles, whon forced to do so, although
they had alwayB worked In soft earth.
Tho tarantula puts pieces of her prey
on tbo roof to bo baked and preserved by
One of tho myste
ries of spider life Is
that the young of
this tarantula and
other species, while
they are on tho
mother's back for
months, take no food
nnd obtain nothing
from the mother's
body. M. Fabre ad
vances the interest
ing theory that they
live directly by solar
energy, thus sug
gesting that tho
spiders have solved
a problem which Is
regarded as the ulti
mate goal of human
"Instead of being
served up through
Another exercise I consider essen
tial to most women and particularly
to those of America, who are in
clined to a thickening of the middle
of the figure, especially at middle
life. That Is the twisting of the
trunk on the hips. Turning from
right to left, and from left to right,
keeping the body erect all the while
will keep the muscles of the back
firm, reduce the flesh In that part of
the body and reduce the abdomen.
A third essential exercise has no
less ordinary name than squatting.
Bending the knees and sinking to
and rising from a sitting posture
several times every day will keep
the body supple.
Theso, with deep inhalings and ex
haling every day, thi sweeping the
lungs free from Impure air and Ail
ing them with fresh, clean air, should
keep ono in good condition, so far
aa tho need of exercise goes. Spe
cial exercises for special cases are.
well known. Theso four should meet
the average needs, and are so neces
sary that I have named them the es
1 1 alU L11U Mill ilia i uu gvuj uuu vum Evi
with activity, oven as tho battery charges
an accumulator with power?" M. Fabro
asks, "Why not live on sun, seeing that
after all, we find nought but sun in the
fruits which we consurao?"
Tho banded epeira is tho handsomest oi
the southern French spiders. On her fal
belly, a mighty silk warehouse, nearly ai
largo as a hazel nut, are alternate yellow,
black and silver sashes. .
The epeira constructs a magnificent
radiating upright web. In tho lower part
of tho wob, starting from the centre, a
wide opaque ribbon descends zlgzag-wlso
across tho radii. This Is tho opelra's trade
mark. Tho flourish of an artist initialling
"That tho spidor fools satisfied whon,
after passing and repassing from spoke to
spoke, sho finishes hor spiral Is beyond a
doubt," comments M. Fabre. "The work
achieved insures her food for a few days
Describing the artistic taste and archi
tectural skill of this spider, tho author
"Tho epeira ends her web with a dead
white angular flourish; sho ends her nest
with brown mouldings, which run down
Irregularly from tho marginal junction to
the bulging middle. For this purpose sho
makes ubo for tho third time of a different
silk; sho then produces Bilk of a dark
hue, varying from russet to black. Tho
spinnerets distribute tho material with a
wide longitudinal swing - from pole to
pole, and the hlndlegs apply It in capri
M, Fabro has observed that the epeira
is ambidextrous, a valuablo quality in the
Btruggle for cxistenco to which man has
so far aspired in vain. In whatever di
rection shu turns, she uses the nearest
of her olght legs with tho same dexterity.
The spider uses her wob in somo mys
terious wny as a telegraph wire. When a
fly or other possible, prey touches the
most distant part of the web sho hastens
to the spot, but if tho structuro 1b dis
turbed by a man Bhe hides herself. There
Is reason to believe that tho wob carries
to her news of Just what is happening
After showing that the spider 1b a skilled
aeroplanlst, an architect, a handler of all
sorts of tools and Implements of precision,
M. Fabro goes on to adduce evidence from
the form of tho web that this insect pos
sesses a knowledgo of geometry, mathe
matics and logarithms.
"Taken as a whole," ho says, "tho rope
latticed edifice consists of a series of
cross-bars, Intersecting tho sevoral radiat
ing lines obliquely at angles of equal
"By this characteristic we recognize tho
'logarithmic spiral.' Geometricians glvo
this name to tho curve which intersects
obliquely at angles of udvarying value
all tho straight lines or 'radii vectores
radiating from a centre called tho pole.
The epeira's construction, therefore, Is a
series of cords Joining the intersections of
a logarithmic spiral with a series of radii.
It would become merged In this spiral If
the number of radii wero Infinite, for this
would reduce tho length of tho rectilinear
elements indefinitely and change this poly
gonal line into a curve."
Mme. Una GvHri.