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Spiders are extraordinary creatures
Since spiders are major insect-predators, it's not surprising I frequently encounter them. Here are a few I have seen, and when I came upon each of them I was drawn in to admire, watch, and wonder.
A few years ago (July 2013) I wrote about this Candy-stripe Spider that had caught a bee-mimic fly. It's a crab spider belonging to the family Thomisidae. Crab spiders do not build webs and many species, such as this one, hunt for their food while hiding out on flowers.
This is another crab spider species, lovely in yellow and green, patiently waiting on matching wild flowers.
This beautiful Cross Orb-weaver, Araneus diadematus, occupied our porch for a week. She created a new web every day. Wishing not to disturb her, we used a different door from which to go in and out of the house. Her hunting method was interesting. Instead of hiding out on a far edge of her web, she hung upside down (as you see here) right in the middle of it. With one leg hooked onto the signal line, she waited for a disturbance that would let her know a potential meal had arrived.
I'm saving the most incredible looking spider for last. It's the large Yellow and Black Garden Spider, Argiope aurantia, with an icon on its back that, I imagine, could be the envy of many a graffiti artist. This spider builds a very large web and at the center is its signature zig-zag woven with thick strands of silk. The web is good for capturing large insects. I love dragonflies, so imagine my shock when I saw a very large darner caught in one of these webs. I admit I was horrified. But, like the damselfly I saw seized by the robber fly (August 2013), I was also fascinated at what had happened.
It's unavoidable. In my reverence for nature I find it possible to experience beauty, amazement, horror, and love all in a single moment.
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