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  1. The Arthropods' Weekly Bulletin/

Outside the shoe shop

·4 mins

In the early hours of the morning, as the sun casts its first timid glance over the horizon, Lina, the Chrysis ignita wasp — her wings shimmering in the soft light — buzzes aimlessly through the awakening parkland. Lina, who is called " Stachelina" only by her overly strict mother, feels a bit lonely and is looking for an exciting distraction. Her journey leads her to an old, gnarled tree whose bark holds the history of many centuries. In its shade, she finds Ari, a graying and very wise buzzing spider, who is busy weaving her elaborate webs.

One of Ari’s eight eyes recognizes Lina, and the two begin a conversation. Their encounter is at first filled with cautious curiosity. Lina, accustomed to the speed of her existence, and Ari, an artist of silence and perseverance, have many things that set them apart. And what should arthropods who don’t really know each other talk about? Obviously, they talk about the weather, which is unusually mild for the time of year, and swap anecdotes about the past weekend. Lina recounts her adventure in a garden full of colorful flowers, while Ari reports on the peace and quiet in her web, interrupted only by the occasional wriggle of a careless fly.

The mood between the two becomes more and more pleasant and they decide to explore the area together and leave the park for the city of humans. They wander through the dense greenery, past dewdrops that glisten like tiny diamonds in the morning sun. And so they find themselves nimble and light-footed on asphalt paths, which cast a shimmering warmth from the sun’s stronger rays. Their conversation flows freely until they suddenly find themselves in front of a shoe store.

It is a strange glance through the shop window that makes them both pause. Ari, with her eight legs, looks curiously at the displays, which showcase shoes in every imaginable shape and color. Lina, impressed by the colorful display, quickly feels a pang of envy. Because she knows that she — with her six legs — can never wear more than three pairs of shoes, whereas Ari is traveling with a fabulous selection of four pairs. This moment leads the two of them to talk about their differences.

Ari explains how nature has endowed them with eight legs, a feature that distinguishes arachnids from insects. “You see,” Ari continues, “we’re both arthropods, but our paths diverged a long time ago. Insects — like you — have six legs, while we arachnids have eight.” Even before Lina can express her fascination with this fact, Ari adds: " It’s nice to be able to wear so many different pairs of shoes and to mix and match — two pairs of sneakers and two pairs of fancy shoes combined can be quite common. But, I have to admit, it’s quite expensive. Three pairs, like the ones you can wear, are definitely cheaper."

Lina, now less envious and instead fascinated by Ari’s openness, inquisitively asks about the crustaceans, which she has heard are also arthropods. The spider smiles and explains that crustaceans do indeed have a different number of legs, at least ten and often more, which distinguishes them from insects and arachnids alike. “So our diversity is not just a sign of our differences, but also of our shared history,” Lina ponders. “Each type of leg count tells its own story of evolution and adaptation.”

This insight weaves a deeper connection of understanding and recognizing their differences. With a look of admiration for what makes each of them unique, the wasp and spider part ways. What they talked about echoes in both of their memories for a long time to come: Humans balance through life on one pair, wasps flit through the air with three pairs, spiders dance across their webs on four pairs, and the woodlouse, an underrated wonder of nature, maneuvers skillfully with thirteen pairs. Nevertheless, we all share the same earth and breathe the same air. In this diversity lies our shared responsibility for the planet that houses us all.