Thursday, July 10, 2014

Another Benefit of Rain---Spiders

Yes, I'm one of those people
Spider lover.
I am fascinated by spiders.
I don't know exactly why.

Maybe it's because I know they eat so many pesky bugs.
Maybe because their silk has been shown to be stronger than Kevlar in many cases.
Maybe it's because the Orb Weavers species spin such intricate and often perfect webs---while upside down and with their back legs.
Maybe it's because of Charlotte's Web.  

In any case, large spiders have been absent from my land during our recent droughts.
I haven't seen this particular spider since June of 2010.
She (yes, she) is a Giant Lichen Orbweaver.

She is one of the heaviest Orbweavers. 
 I would think spinning a big web would be difficult, just because she can't launch herself easily from branch to branch.
I am incorrect.
We have several on our property that have anchor lines that stretch 10' or more between branches.
I'd love to see that part of the construction, but I have only witnessed the spinning of the concentric circles.

You'll be happy to know that this pretty girl is not venomous.
In fact, she's terribly shy.  
It took me several tries over the course of a week to get these pictures.
Every time I'd approach her web, she'd high-tail it to the safety of the tree branches.

Just like in Charlotte's Web, this spider will live out her summer here.  
She will spin one, (possibly two) egg sacs and then die this Fall.
Until then, I walk carefully between trees. 
Ever on the lookout for enormous webs.
I can love spiders, but not love getting wrapped up in their webs, can't I? 


5 comments:

  1. Are orb weavers different or the same as cat face spiders? I always give cat face spiders plenty of room since I was told they BITE. Still, they put away plenty of pests and are, as you said, amazing architects. Your photo illustrates the "cat face" very well.

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    1. Leenie, I looked up your Cat Faced Orbweaver. While I could not see the "cat", I can see why anyone might get them mixed up. Honestly, all the fat, marble-shaped Orbs look very similar to me. :) What I did find was that all Orbs will only bite if harassed (picked up). And then, their bite is harmless to humans.

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  2. I, too, love spiders. Well, I at least like them a lot. When we lived in Texas we had quite a lot of them show up in the house and I kept a clear plastic glass and a 4x6 file card with which to collect them. The card easily slipped under the mouth of the glass to provide a lid when I turned it over. I'd carry them out the door and let them go. I googled your spider and came up with a great web site that concentrates on bugs in Texas. It's called bugsinthenews.info. They have articles and photos of all kinds of things. Some of the articles are about Formosan Termites in Dripping Springs and Wimberley, pharaoh ants in Round Rock, and springtails in Austin. Springtails? That was a new one for me. If you aren't familiar with this site, you might check it out. From reading your blog, I've learned that you love to learn and are knowledgeable about many things. I love to research things (like the identity of a breed of chicken) and found this site really interesting. I wish I had known about it when we lived in the area. I used the county extension service information on ants to learn how to control pharaoh ants when we first moved there and lived in an apartment waiting for our house to be built. I'd love to see one of the orbs woven by your huge spider.

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    1. Peg, thanks so much for that website!! I keep forgetting that you lived in this area for a while.
      I have tried to capture a photo of this girl's web and that of her sisters. It looks great on my camera and then when I put it on my computer, it is blurry or I haven't got the light right. If you go back to the top of this post, you'll see "spin intricate webs..." in purple. Click on that and you'll see some great pics I got of their webs one foggy morning some time ago.

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  3. She is such a beautiful spider. You were so lucky to see her and her web. Thank you for sharing her with us. Have a great weekend.

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