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A visit by His Excellency Sultan Tel-a-monia

August 11, 2011

Sometimes you are totally underdressed. Normally I wear a pair of dirty shorts and a worn out long sleeved shirt, after all, I am a gardener. So I simply walked inside Dokmai Garden as usual when I suddenly encountered a slender guest with hairy limbs, eyes dark like the tropical night and a snow white kufiya elegantly fastened to the head by a circlet (the iqal).

This noble stranger presented itself as a member of the Telamonia genus, a jumping spider (Salticidae). It was big for being a jumping spider, and with the speed of lightning it jumped from leaf to leaf in a pink shower tree (Cassia bakeriana, Fabaceae). It looked more like teleporting, disappearing one second and showing up somewhere else in the next second. The spider could spot me from far away, while normally spiders have a poor eye-sight. Like the sapphire head lizard, it did its best to avoid a filthy troll like me, but I managed to get two fuzzy paparazzi pictures of this nobility.

Since we need English names to create an interest in the members of a monsoon garden, I think a suitable name for this spider is ‘jumping sultan’, as it looks as if it has an Arab headwear.

There is an urban legend about the Telamonia spiders that they kill people by biting them when they go to the bathroom. That is false! This gentle creature would not harm any human. Spiders help you with controlling your pests. Like nano robots they target the enemy and eliminate it with precision, quite different from the lethal smoke of a pesticide which wipes out everything and may even contribute to Parkinson’s disease.

The scientific name Telamonia is also the scientific name for a subgenus of the mushroom genus Cortinarius. With only ca 80 000 fungal species described, but some 1.5 million fungal species remaining to be named, we are running out of names, and fungi have to share names with e.g. spiders and corals (Cantharellus). Sorry for the inconvenience, but the creation is vaster than any religious author ever could have imagined. Treasure it!

Text & Photo: Eric Danell

P.S. Now I know what that odd wingless wasp is: a cow killer! Read more here!

Don’t fool me, I have eyes in the back!

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