Who Goes There?

Orb spider hiding in leaf

Yowsers! Take a look at this huntress! She’s been hiding in a leaf she wove into a web, by our back door, all this week. Let me tell you, Oh Best Beloved, this gal can run like the wind, too…

Spiders used to make me shudder, but I’ve come to appreciate their incredible webs and the place they have in keeping down the population of flies and such. However, I still don’t like unexpected close encounters of the eight-legged kind, especially late at night when I’ve removed my glasses. With my poor eyesight, if I can see a spider pattering across the wall whilst my glasses are off, it means my little arachnid friend is roughly the size of, oh, an M1A1 Abrahms battle tank. Or larger.

Yardstick measuring bunched up spider - she's an inch long, 1.5 inches when stretched out

I grabbed an old yardstick we keep in the garage, just to give you an idea of this orb spider’s size (sorry about the faded-out ink on the yardstick, but you get the idea). She refused to stretch out for me, so in this photo she’s sort of scrunched up and about 2/3rds of her real length. As you can see, she’s a respectable one inch long when crouched.

Fully stretched out striped Orb spider 1.5 inches long

Here she is fully stretched out in her web, waiting for dinner to arrive. I’m guessing (as she refused to let me near again with the yardstick to get a second measurement) that she’s between one and 3/8ths inches to one and a half inches long — about the diameter of a silver dollar. These shots are all taken of her from her tummy side (that’s her ventral side for all you budding scientists out there), so you can see not only her legs but her rather sizable mandibles.

What’s that? Was I worried that she might scurry onto me?

No, no, of course not… well, maybe a little. Or maybe a lot. Or maybe…

Actually, truth be told, I would have shrieked louder than a blaring tornado siren if she’d bounded out of that web and landed on me…

Butterflies are much less stressful to photograph!

This entry was posted in Critters, Garden, Village Life and tagged by JAS. Bookmark the permalink.

About JAS

Personal trivia, in no particular order: 1. I love cherry jam. Not that sickly sweet insipid jellied syrup that masquerades as jam, but the stuff that's 99% tart cherries you picked off your own trees and simmered to perfection with just a tad of sugar and pectin. 2. I am a mouse magnet. Not to any particular mouse, mind you - just to field mice in general. Just lucky, I guess. 3. I firmly believe that specialization is for insects. Thank you for understanding, Mr. Heinlein. 4. Forty pounds of custom-made velvet finery worn on a 97F afternoon worn whilst riding aside on a fine horse beats a sauna hands down every time for weight loss and dehydration. 5. Once upon a time I was a romantic. Life took care of that.

5 thoughts on “Who Goes There?

  1. I’m sort of between Kris and Gary, here – I’m fascinated… but the minute a spider this size scurried toward me I’d probably whack it!

  2. Hi there! Saw your neighbor there in Ugly Overload – I think I have had one of her cousins in my yard: http://tiny.cc/8Cypv . I believe that’s a European Garden Spider (Araneus diadematus) – your pics are much better than the ones I got of mine, tho. And how cool that she wove a bunker into her web!

  3. Hi Wendy! I do believe they are cousins – can you see my spider waving hello from her bunker? (LOL – bunker.. great term!)

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