National Geographic : 1944 Oct
468 The National Geographic Magazine trees hung low and offered fine build ing spots for these spiders. "When you ran into one of their webs hung between the trees, you'd bounce back like you'd hit a nest of live springs," was the New Caledonia Yanks' report on these web weavers. "And if there was one of those fat spiders hang ing in the web-well, they weren't pleas ant things to bump into in the dark, either." * Spider Webs for Fishing In New Guinea natives often make use of these strong webs in fishing. Setting up poles where the ambitious spinners are numerous, they calmly wait for the spiders to spin their webs be tween the poles. Sometimes they offer a little help by stringing a few pieces of cord between the poles. When the spiders' work is done, the natives lift the poles from the ground and take their "net" to the sea for test ing. Ordinarily these spider-made nets are strong enough to hold fish weighing more than a pound. t When I asked a couple of Yank fisher men if they had ever caught a fish on a cobweb, they said they really couldn't top that one. But New Guinea natives, and some in habitants of islands as far east as the Solomons, do just that. With a kite flown high above the canoe and cobwebs trailing lightly over the surface, they "troll" for their catch. Usually it is the garfish, or what is commonly termed the needlefish, that falls for the cobweb lure (pages 464 and 465). Attracted by the lifelike motion of the bait, these long slim fish snatch at it and tangle their teeth hopelessly in the fine mesh of cobwebs. The New Guinea natives living on the southwestern coast of the Huon Penin sula call this type of fishing sepwami. The cobweb lure, or kawali, is gathered on a pandanus leaf attached to a long stick. Walking through the jungle twisting this pandanus leaf around and Around in the webs, native fishermen gather fair-sized "bundles" in a very short time. Australian News Bureau "Well, If It Isn't a Duck with a Fur Coat!" * See "War Awakened New Caledonia," Yanks who saw the Australian duck-billed platypus, by Enzo de Chetelat, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC strange hangover from days when dinosaurs roamed the MAGAZINE, July, 1942. earth, thought it one of the craziest things they ever saw. t See "Strange Sights in Far-away Papua," Contrary to most of the world's egg layers, the platypus is by A. E. Pratt, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGA a mammal and suckles its young (page 474). ZINE, September, 1907.