After the heavy rain this morning I wasn’t sure I’d get out but it was a beautiful afternoon. I took more butterfly pictures but my favorite of the day is this spider I found. I think it may be a tan jumping spider, Platycryptus undatus.
Tagged With: Arachnid
There are over 6,400 species of harvestmen which together make up the Arachnida order Opiliones. They aren’t spiders (which are in the order Araneae) but are cousins. I’ve always thought they were cool. Their eyes are on either side of a little turret on their heads — the little black blob in this picture.
The wind was whipping this little fellow around and I could only get at him from behind, so this isn’t as good as I’d like but still, it’s reasonably sharp and kind of cool. If you like that sort of thing — I understand not everyone is crazy about spiders.
This is one wicked looking spider. It is a Spined Micrathena (Micrathena gracilis) and I came across her in the woods next to my office. Her web is about eight inches across and about three feet off the ground. With the number of bugs flying around, I suspect she eats well.
The funnel weaver spiders are out in huge numbers at this point of the summer. Especially on damp mornings, when the dew is heavy on the ground, their webs are obvious (but they can be seen pretty well at all times). Outside our front door is a concrete bench (that we call The Stone Table) on which Cathy has various and sundry potted plants and various ornaments. This spider has built a fairly elaborate web along the side of a blue pot. I’ve had a hard time getting a good photo that shows the funnel in their web but I think this one does it pretty well.
I met Cathy outside my building briefly today because we had come together and she needed to go out briefly so needed the keys to the car. I brought my camera with me and took a few pictures while I was out. There are porcelain berries (Ampelopis brevipedunculata) out and I took a few pictures of those. Then I noticed a really spectacular web glinting in the sun. This spider was sitting near the middle of that web and I was able to get quite close for some pretty nice pictures. I didn’t have my tripod with me but it was pretty bright out. I’ve asked for some help in identifying it and if I hear about that I’ll post its name here.
Update: I have confirmed that this is a lattice orbweaver (Araneus thaddeus).
We’re moving from the flowers-of-spring period into the insects-of-summer. Along with the insects come those creatures that prey on them, most notably the spiders and related creatures. Of course, birds, bats, and even other insects prey on insects, but I have a special fascination with spiders. They are not, I am led to believe, universally admired. I suppose I understand that. Nevertheless, I think they are quite beautiful, at least some of them are. This is Leucauge venusta, the orchard orbweaver, and a common resident in our area. It’s so delicate and looks like it could be made of glass. It’s been said that you are never more then six feet from a spider. Even if that’s not literally true, it’s probably mostly true. Sleep well.
I stopped and walked into Rock Creek Park on the way home today. It’s a nice, wooded area and generally away from traffic, so I like being there. It’s definitely high summer now and the underbrush is about at it’s deepest but I’m happy to leave the bike path and walk the short distance through the brush to the creek itself. I passed a few spider webs, which isn’t unusual this time of year, but it wasn’t until I got to this one that I stopped. This one had the sun shining on it and that made it a lot easier to photograph. This was made by a spined Micrathena (Micrathena gracilis), one of the orb weavers (family Araneidae).
A few days ago I had a picture of a spider web, taken in Rock Creek Park (see Thursday, July 18, 2019). I mentioned that it belonged to a spined Micrathena (Micrathena gracilis) but the spider wasn’t in the picture. Today we had a little time before church so we walked in the Stadtman Preserve for a little and I saw another spined Micrathena and got this picture of her. It frankly isn’t a great picture but you can see where it gets its “spined” appellation. Sorry I have nothing better for today. Maybe tomorrow.
Cathy and I drove to the east end of Ocean Isle this morning and walked on the beach, looking for shells and coral and I took a few pictures. The other day we had noticed a boardwalk going into the scrub off of one of the back streets and we decided to see where it led. from the corner of e 4 sup th /sup and winston-salem streets we followed a combination of boardwalks (over wet areas) and sandy trails that go as far as Charlotte Street (although we didn’t actually go all the way to the end). We saw three species of spider. There were lots of these spinybacked orbweavers (Gasteracantha cancriformis). We also saw a golden-silk orbweaver (Nephila clavipes) and a black-and-yellow argiope (Argiope aurantia). I also got a pretty nice photo of a slant-faced grasshopper (Subfamily Gomphocerinae). It was hot but there were occasional breezes and it was mostly shady, so we enjoyed it pretty well.
I came across this spider on the head of a black-eyed Susan this evening. It was pretty hard to photograph, being really small (a couple millimeters long at most, and the wind was moving the flower slightly. It was also late enough in the day that the light was starting to fade. This particular shot is reasonably sharp. This is the sort of spider that you could easily walk past and not see, it’s so small. There’s no way it could bite you if it wanted to, because it simply wouldn’t have the strength to break your skin. I find it amazing that spiders as little as this can survive but there are lots of very small insects, as well, for them to live on.
After church today we went to the Agricultural History Farm Park for a little while. It was a beautiful fall day and a great day to be outdoors. We didn’t really feel like taking a long walk, though. We started, as we so often do, by walking around the shade garden next to (and part of) the fenced Master Gardeners demonstration garden. This spider, a marbled orbweaver (Araneus marmoreus) was there, sitting in the middle of her web (I don’t actually know this is a female). I know not everyone is enamoured of spiders but you have to admit, this little creature is quite beautiful in its own way.
For those of you who prefer flowers or birds to spiders, I’m posting two more photos. In the shade garden not far from the spider was the toad lily (Tricyrtis) seen in the second photograph. I’m a big fan of anything blooming in November, but I’ve never had much success getting this to grow in our garden. Seeing it here made me want to try once more, because it’s really very lovely.
We walked around the demonstration garden and I took a few more photographs there. Then Cathy walked over towards the barn and house and I moved the car there. I sat under a tree and took a few photos of birds and the third photo here—an eastern bluebird (Sialia sialis)—is the best (I think) of those. Even with my long lens zoomed all the way out I had to crop this photo a bit. I’m hoping to do better but thought I’d share this one now, anyway.