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.

Advertisements

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.

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.