Monday, November 24, 2008

Orbweaver

We went out on the deck to enjoy a weekend evening, and [The Man I Love] said - "Wait a minute. Before you sit down, let me sweep away the spider over your chair."

A large spiderweb had been built from the eaves overhanging my wicker deck chair, and at its center was its builder.

"No, wait," I said, "let me take a picture first."

It took some gymnastics, me standing on the chair but NOT putting my head into the web; him shining a flashlight on the spider while I wobbled and snapped away, but I got a couple of good pictures.

After looking up spiders, I think this one is Araneus cavaticus, also called a barn spider. They are among the group of spiders known as Orbweavers, due to their large, impressive circular webs that are anchored to trees and buildings.

They range throughout the US. They hide during the day and come out at night - hence our spidey's activity as dusk fell. They are not known to bite people.

They're hairy and brown, with striped legs, and on the underside of the abdomen is a square-ish black patch with two white marks on either side.They catch moths and other flying insects. Although they have eight eyes, they have poor vision, and sense their prey by feeling the vibrations of the web.

Most orbweavers you see on webs are female. Charlotte, the spider in E.B. White's classic children's book "Charlotte's Web" was an Araneus cavaticus - in the book she even introduces herself as Charlotte A. Cavaticus.

After I took a few photos, we got a broom and gently scooped up the spider web so it clung to the bristles. Then we lowered it down over the deck railing, and released the spider onto the umbrella on the lower deck's picnic table. The spider quickly crawled away from us, ready to find another place to anchor her web.

Some spider!

3 comments:

sweetmemorymakingmom said...

Cool spider post. That was nice of your husband to warn you before sitting. We have tons of spiders around our house. When we first move in it took some getting use to. Our house is 100 years old and there are so many ways these lil' critter can get into our home! When my girls were infant in their cribs, I would even see one every once in awhile. I would freak out, of course it was more because of my off balance hormones. But now, I appreciate them. They help kill the mosquitos!!! We have some here that are as large as quarters! hugs, Ellen

cactus petunia said...

Spiders are supposed to bring good luck, I think. I'm always nice to them, and try to relocate them gently...with a minimum amount of screaming!

Vanilla Lavender said...

I can not even thing about spiders! They scare me!!! :) Vanessa