Sunday Spider

Black-and-Yellow Argiope #1Species Argiope aurantia – Black-and-Yellow Argiope

I absolutely LOVE these spiders. I’ve looked for one to photograph for so many years to no avail. That is, until now. There are a wide variety of garden spiders or “writing” spiders on this piece of property. I took the photo above on August 31st. David swears its body size was that of a quarter. I’m going to say that it was at the very least the size of a nickel. It’s HUGE! And oh, so lovely!

I walked back out to visit it on September 4th. It and another smaller Black-and-Yellow Argiope are still there. The larger one rebuilt its web at a different angle and was on the underside of its web which gave me the opportunity to photograph the detail of its writing. I have to wonder what message these spiders are trying to get across in their intricate weaving practices. Why do they create their webs in such a way?

Black-and-Yellow Argiope #2I’ll continue to visit these spiders living in our fence-row periodically to see any changes in the webs and body size. I may have to carefully measure the larger one just for curiosity’s sake. So beautiful. I hope they hang out for a while.


Green Lynx Spider?

Green Lynx Spider?

This spider caught my eye because of the red “X” on its back. Does anyone know if Green Lynx Spider, Species Peucetia viridans, is the correct ID?

Orchard Orbweavers

Orchard Orbweaver #1

Every year we get these beauties on our north facing porch. The family grows each year. Right now, there are several this size (about the size of a nickel, legs included) and a few spiderlings, no bigger than an eraser tip. The spiderlings are lighter colored. They almost appear white, until you look very closely. They were much too small for my camera to focus on, but I got a few decent photos of the adults.


 Orchard Orbweaver #2

These are commonly known as Orchard Orbweavers. I’m fairly certain that this particular species is Leucauge venusta, but both Leucauge venusta and Leucauge argyra are very similar. I may have to go out and take a closer look again to be completely sure. I’ll have to wait for the next sunny day, though, which from the look of the forecast won’t be any time soon.

Orchard Orbweaver #3

Although this image could have been a bit crisper, I’m pretty pleased with this photo of the colorful underside. Oh, what I would give for the capability to take macros of arachnids and insects. They’re quite beautiful when you take the time to look. 😉

Repeat, “You are old, Father William,” said the… Spider?

You Are Old, Father William

by Lewis Carroll [From: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland]

‘You are old, Father William’, the young man said,
‘And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head —
Do you think, at your age, it is right?’

‘In my youth’, Father William replied to his son,
‘I feared it might injure the brain;
But, now that I’m perfectly sure I have none,
Why, I do it again and again.’

‘You are old’, said the youth, ‘as I mentioned before,
And have grown most uncommonly fat;
Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door —
Pray, what is the reason of that?’

‘In my youth’, said the sage, as he shook his grey locks,
‘I kept all my limbs very supple
By the use of this ointment – one shilling the box –
Allow me to sell you a couple?’

‘You are old’, said the youth, ‘and your jaws are too weak
For anything tougher than suet;
Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak –
Pray, how did you manage to do it?’

‘In my youth’, said his father, ‘I took to the law,
And argued each case with my wife;
And the muscular strength, which it gave to my jaw,
Has lasted the rest of my life.’

‘You are old’, said the youth, ‘one would hardly suppose
That your eye was as steady as ever;
Yet you balanced an eel on the end of your nose –
What made you so awfully clever?’

‘I have answered three questions, and that is enough,’
Said his father, ‘don’t give yourself airs!
Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?
Be off, or I’ll kick you downstairs!’

I have always loved Lewis Carroll’s, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. It’s one of my favorite stories. And yes, the caterpillar was actually the one who asked Alice to recite You are old, Father William. I’m so far behind in posting photos I’ve taken this year. While going through photos from a visit to Burgess Falls on October 1st, I ran across this one and immediately thought of the caterpillar and his exchange with Alice. It seemed fitting to post this photo in this way.

Sunday Spider

Sunday Spider by pixygiggles
Sunday Spider, a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

The other day David told me he woke up and sat down at his computer like he always does before heading off to work. He happened to glance up and noticed two jumping spiders above him. One headed off another direction toward the overhead light, but the other was stubborn and wouldn’t move.

David captured it and left it under a cup on my desk for me to find when I woke up. Cautiously, I lifted the cup when I found it, to find a very agitated spider hiding at the top. Perhaps, agitated is the wrong word. I would say more like ticked off! Having no idea how long the poor little thing had been trapped under there, I quickly took it to the front door for release. As I opened the door, it leapt from the cup and completely disappeared.

Poof, gone like a ghost.

For the next 10 minutes I searched myself, the door, the floor – everywhere I could think. It was nowhere to be found. I had to laugh at myself and hoped it had managed to get out the front door without my seeing.

Today, David pointed out this one, right by the front door. Who knows, maybe, it’s the same one. Since it was much calmer and exhibiting the usual curiosity that I’ve often noticed of jumping spiders, I took a few photos before scooting it out the door.

I seriously love these spiders for their personality. They are special little creatures, one species that deserves our respect and familiarity. If you’ve never taken the time to get to know one, you should. You’ll be surprised by their inquisitive nature and fearlessness.

Fear not the spider. It’s only trying to survive like the rest of us. 🙂

Catnip Harvest 2013

We Can’t Wait

David asked me to harvest the catnip today. We waited a bit longer this year in order to give the seeds a chance to fall back down into the flower-pot. When I brought it into the house, it didn’t take long for all 5 cats to catch a whiff. Before I even made it to the kitchen counter, all 5 were pacing excitedly around my legs. Moses and Sierra couldn’t wait. They jumped up on the counter and proceeded to devour their fill.


After wrangling all the large stems away from them, I bundled them together to hang and dry out for the next few days. Moses decided to hang out and waller in the left over leaves.

Catnip Harvest 2013

It turned out to be a pretty nice sized bundle.


To my surprise I brought along a hitchhiker (or two) who ran for cover away from the cats and fell in the kitchen sink. After saving her from a certain watery death, I took the time to get a few photos. I know she’s a crab spider (family Thomisidae), but I don’t know the genus or species.

Strike a Pose

Using this fork I was trying to put her in the cup with the remaining seeds I collected and debris to be dumped back outside in the flower-pot; but she kept climbing up the fork instead of into the cup.

Balancing Act

There was a second hitchhiker, much, much smaller. It looked to be a baby spider. Maybe, the larger one is the mom. The tiny one was so small that I really couldn’t get the camera to focus on it, not to mention the poor little thing was so skittish that when I finally did get the large one into the cup, the baby ran over and hid under her. Click on the photo below to view larger. You can just barely make out the baby under her right legs.

Ready to go home.

I released both outside safely, back into their flower-pot. Unfortunately, now, they haven’t any cover to keep them safe. I hope they find a safe home nearby and live long lives. My guess is they’ll go back to their spider family and tell them all about their alien abduction! Haha!

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Sitting at my computer last night, this spider casually strolled up the wall next to me. That isn’t the first time this has happened here. Last fall, one of these startled the bejesus out of David when it climbed up the wall behind his computer monitor. I wasted no time in capturing this one because I’m worried they might be wolf spiders. As I understand it, they have very painful bites; and our cats are quite the curious hunters. The eye placement is closer to that of a wolf spider than that of a grass spider. After snapping a few photos and a short video, I released it about 30 feet from our house hoping it will not return.

Click on any of the images to be redirected to Flickr where you can view the full size images. I uploaded these full-size to help in the identification process.

This crazy spider showed a bit of aggression upon release as it chased me back inside, but not before I warned it of the impending doom that awaited should it return inside my home! It’s an empty threat. I almost always capture and release. The cats, on the other hand, are not so forgiving.

The above photo is simply to show its size in relation to a ruler. It was pretty big! I must be getting used to these spiders because I didn’t even squeal when I saw this one. Creepy as the photos and video might be to some, October is the best month for sharing all things creepy.

On a side note, the title of this post, of course, is inspired by Shakespeare’s Macbeth. I have watched the play a total of 3 times in the past week and intend to read it for myself in its entirety again. David and I had a wonderful date night on Saturday night, complete with dinner and the final showing of the play at Dogwood Park. While searching for the text of the play online, I happened across director Rupert Goold’s production of Macbeth for the TV series “Great Performances” on PBS online. Starring Sir Patrick Stewart (Star Trek: Next Generation) and Kate Fleetwood, this modern adaptation of the play was positively chilling, a definite must-see for any Shakespeare enthusiasts. However, I’m not sure how long it will be available online for free.

Day 257 A New Resident

Day 257 A New Resident by pixygiggles
Day 257 A New Resident, a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

This spider has replaced the other orb weaver that was in the same spot back in July. After watching the other one grow from a tiny little thing to that last molt at the end of July, it left, moved on to wherever spiders go. It probably grew tired of my incessant photographing sessions.

This one is much more skittish than the other. I took two photos, this one and another, before deciding to move the distracting red gas cans in the background. When I returned to my spot, I must have startled it because it retreated into a crack heavily adorned with webbing. I’m actually impressed by this one’s web building technique which differs from the previous resident. Hopefully, I won’t permanently scare this one off, too. It has a lovely coloring that I haven’t seen before.