Monday, December 27, 2010

Spider Byte

Kill a spider and bad luck yours will be,
Until of flies you've killed fifty-three.
          English folk-saying as recorded in The Book of the Spider by Paul Hillyard

Monday, December 20, 2010

Argiope argentata

An Argiope Argentata posing beautifully at Bolsa Chica. Look at that lovely silver tracing.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Back Yard Spider Update

Been a while since I wrote about the back yard spiders. This is partly because cold weather and rain have kept me from going out into the yard with my light and camera in search of spiders (This is one of many reasons I am not a Proper Naturalist. Proper Naturalists would go out anyway, even if they had to grow a third arm in order to hold the umbrella above the camera while angling the light).

Also, it is because the cold weather and the rain have discouraged the spiders, too. The big Neoscona have all vanished. Dead? Fled elsewhere? Cowering under things? Probably the first.

I haven't seen Little Brown and company in ages. I don't know if they moved out of the tree one night when I wasn't watching, or if they're still there and I've lost track of them (They always were hard to spot), or if they were eaten by one or the other of the house sparrows and finches that come by all the time.

Fence Spider vanished three days ago, which makes me sad. I was fond of Fence Spider. I wonder if anyone else will move into the spot?

And the house spider I was watching has vanished. Her egg sacs were still there for a couple of days, then they fell further down, and then vanished. Again, I don't know if that means they were eaten or if they've fallen behind the worm bin and will still hatch. She, I think, must be dead because otherwise, they'd still be fastened to the fence and she'd still be spending most of her time curled around one or the other.

Still present, Dark Legs has still been respinning her web each night. I think I spotted Light Legs recently as well, so the two may be enjoying marital bliss.

There are still plenty of other zygiella x-notatas out there, as well. Maybe the fence gives some extra warmth?

Oh, and we're not short of brown widows, either. The day we're short of brown widows, I'll think the world is ending.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Wolf Spider

I went to Bolsa Chica Thursday and saw the sand move. After a bit of hunting and watching, I finally got a good look at the spider. It moved in quick, scuttling bursts, freezing in between.

Bugguide folks ID'd at as a wolf spider, a Lycosidae, of some kind. That explains why it seemed so comfortable on the flat surface rather than heading up to build a web.

It also means that the one I caught in the house the other day and couldn't identify was also a wolf spider (though probably a different species). I didn't get a picture of that one as the only jar available at the time was a faceted jam jar, no good for photos, and the spider, true to form, disappeared instantly the moment I opened the jar outside.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Spider Byte

"A Mr. Wadey in Australia had a gold-fish pond and over this pond there was an outjutting piece of rock festooned with spider web. One morning in 1935 he saw much splashing there and found one of his gold-fish, two to three inches in length, entangled in the web. Going nearer he saw a large black spider on its back. The fish died. So did the spider, for Mr. Wadey had a kink in his make-up and preferred gold-fish to spiders."
     from The Spider by John Crompton

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Have Yourself a Very Spider Christmas

If you're really fond of spiders, you can find these at Roger's Gardens (probably elsewhere, too, but definitely there). I think the purple one is kind of cute. Sort of. A little. I mean, look at those little fangs, and then there's that adorable mustache.