Saturday, August 13, 2005

Lucky Spiders

Cross Orb Spiders
This spring, my yard had two hatches of yellowy-brown garden spiders. When they first hatched, they looked just like a bunch of tiny gold BBs and they scooted and swarmed everywhere together like a school of fish. Now they're all over the yard--in front, in back, on the side, on the deck. I can see at least 8 spiders from any location in my yard, and when I go sit on my brick patio-let*, I walk around the house because I have to take down at least 6 webs if I cut through the back yard. Most of the spiders are still only 3/16" long from head to tail, but some of them are approaching 1/2". I'm not sure whether to attribute this to evolutionary savvy or to luck. They don't seem to actually fight about where to place their webs, but the ones with better spots definitely catch bigger bugs, get larger, spin stronger webs, catch bigger bugs, and so on. Today I saw one catch and bundle up a bee-fly that was bigger than the spider was. I also saw a green lacewing caught in a web with the spider approaching. (A beneficial-on-beneficial conflict rather upsetting to the gardener...) I ran in the house to get my camera, but by the time I got back, the lacewing was already wrapped up.

I also observed yellow jackets milling suspiciously around a corner of my roof today. Sigh.

* you know, a super tiny patio?


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