Our spiders

Crab spider
(Misumena vatia)
 ©Janet Allen A spider

I found this bright yellow crab spider on my swamp milkweed plants. It's pretty noticeable in this photo, but it would blend in very well if it were sitting on a yellow flower.

Black and yellow argiope
(Argiope aurantia)
 ©Janet Allen An argiope spider

We enjoyed watching this black and yellow argiope spider for a couple of weeks.

It's sometimes called the "writing spider" because of the white stripe it "writes" in his web.

Of course, he's looking for insects as food and was quite successful. We enjoyed watching him repair his web each day and catch his meals. He would wrap up his catch just as a butcher wraps a piece of meat—only much, much more quickly!

I became quite fond of him and grew accustomed to seeing him each day. Unfortunately, he himself became insect food, I suspect, because one day I went out to see him and he was gone.

Long jawed orb weaver
(Tetragnatha)
 ©Janet Allen Long jawed orb weaver

As I was pulling out some of the extra three-squared rush (and there's LOTS of extra), I noticed two of these spiders aligned on the blade. It was intriguing how their legs fit perfectly up and down.

Spider tunnel
(Not yet identified)
 ©Janet Allen Tunnel

I noticed this interesting structure in the flower bed along the road. It was an amazing structure, though a little worse for wear. Its opening was a perfect circle.

Equally amazing is how long this structure lasts. I had noticed it days before I finally took the opportunity to photograph it.

We can learn so much from the materials and construction techniques of other creatures who manage to create incredibly effective, but non-polluting and biodegradable things.

A funnel spider
(Not yet identified)
 ©Janet Allen Tunnel spider (Enlarge)

After looking at the interesting tunnel, I spotted its builder. It had scurried out to the end of the tunnel to see if it had caught dinner. Perhaps my disturbing the flowers around it had send a false signal of a successful catch.

Here he's investigating a little bit of dirt that landed in his trap. He quickly scurried back.

Cellar spider
(Pholcus sp. maybe Pholcidae)
 ©Janet Allen Cellar spider(Enlarge)

Although the common name for this spider seems to be "cellar spider," this one lives in the area below our kitchen windowsill and in and around the sink area. It has never bothered anything and seems to stay in this general area. It's just about a half inch long and is very delicately built. I have to admit that I catch more fearsome-looking spiders in a jar and toss them out into the great outdoors, but I enjoy having this small representative of the insect kingdom as my kitchen companion. I don't know how old this particular spider is or this species' life expectancy, but its ancestors have lived in this same "habitat" for years.

Cross Orbweaver
(Araneus diadematus)
 ©Janet Allen Spider with prey

It's fascinating to watch spiders wrapping up their prey before eating it.

They're said to eat their whole web each night, along with any little insects stuck in it, then spin a new one in the morning.

(Thanks again to Bugguide.net for ID!)

Shamrock orbweaver
(Araneus trifolium)
 ©Janet Allen Orb spider with prey

Generally the spider was hiding in its little leaf house at the top of the web, but one day we saw him preparing a future meal.

Also known as a pumpkin orbweaver, which makes more sense to me given its pumpkin-like body.

Another ID courtesy of BugGuide.net, which describes it as "perhaps the most distinctive member of the genus Araneus."

Shamrock spider web
(Araneus trifolium)
 ©Janet Allen Orb spider

We found two of these webs in our backyard meadow area. We were careful not to disturb it, so we were able to enjoy its newly-repaired web each day.