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Spiders round 4 - with a nod to that awfully horrific move.

- Curious about something you saw while walking in the woods?  Spot the coolest bug ever?  The prettiest flower and butterfly?  Stumble on a rock and found a fossil? Or was it? This is the place to show your discoveries and share in the knowledge of the natural world right outside our doors. Join in the fun everyday at The Daily Bucket.  
October 2013
As we near Halloween, it seems people like to drag out the classic horror movies of old. I see it in the comics, on the web, and our own DK diaries. "Kingdom of the Spiders" is a self-described "cult classic" from 1977 starring William Shattner. Yeah Shattner, that says it all right there, eh? I consider one of the worst movies ever made, not scary, not frightening, but horrific in a horrible way.

There's another kingdom of the spiders, a much more interesting one, and that is right around my house. Here's some photos of the current residents enjoying the last weeks of fall. Starting off with the oddest spider I have seen that I found building a web between the 2 ropes I use for a clothesline.

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Thanks to burnt out with his photos in the comments on my last spider bucket, I was able to identify this one right off. Spined Micrathena (Micrathena gracilis) or Spiny-Bellied Orb Weaver.

Here's a shot of it when it decided to explore the underside of the rope as I put up my clothes. It "hung" out for a few days until I got tired of going around it and sent it flying.

As I type this, I wonder about "gracilis." I see that named used on a lovely purple wildflower now at peak bloom here in North Florida - Liatris gracilis, aka Gayfeather or around here Blazing Star. Good old Wiki; "Gracilis, a Latin adjective meaning slender, graceful or gracile" - well that fits the flower but I am not sure about the spider.

Going around to the back of the house I found this wolf spider (Lycosidae family) hiding out for the day. Maybe a half-inch body.

I couldn't help myself and in an attempt of get a better photo, I poked at it.  It unfurled for a second, looked at me, and then curled right back up again. It wandered off that night and I never saw it again. I did see a few smaller wolf spiders when I turned over my garden beds. They were dug in till I dug them out and off they went running for the woods.

This Garden Spider built its web on the front porch. Every time I go out the door and slam it shut, the web vibrates and she goes running up to a corner. The other day she had a bug as big as her all wrapped up that she fed on for 2 days. This morning she has moved around to the front of the porch, still running scared when I get near.

Late afternoon with web lit up.

I keep hoping to see a Florida Garden Spider but I think this one is just a variation of Black-and-Yellow Garden Spider (Argiope aurantia). Yesterday I counted 3 of them around the front of the house; all about the same size but half the size of the one I saw a few weeks ago. That one did have black and yellow colors.  

I spotted this egg sac up front in the grassy area on a goldenrod. It's about 3/8" around. Really stood out.

Going around to other side I saw part of the spider but not enough to identify. I don't think it is a crab spider since the abdomen is not crab-like.  update: This has been identified in comments as Green Lynx Spider - Peucetia viridans.  ht to KB & GM

Finishing up with an Orchard Orbweaver. These little spiders are everywhere, and although really small, they are easy to spot with the iridescent body. Often they are found with webs attached to webs of bigger spiders. The Garden spider I mentioned before now has one of these that took over the remains of the previous web.

Golden Silk Orbweavers are still around but the ones I see are high up in the air. It's cool to spot the familiar large body blowing in the breeze, silhouetted against the blue sky. Sunny morning here but forecast calls for rain. Well, a chance of rain but increasing into the weekend. There has not been any rain so far in October.  Highs up in the 80s but if I get outside early, it's quite pleasant. Once this is published, that is where I'll be.

And The Daily Bucket is now open for your thoughts and observations...

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Originally posted to Backyard Science on Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 07:05 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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