by Sue Ann Kendall
Yesterday morning, it was very foggy at my house. As usual, I stopped to enjoy the droplets of water in the grass and hanging on the chicken wire at the henhouse. On my way back from feeding the chickens, I happened to glance at the steps to the RV that’s parked next to our garage. I was entranced by the jewel-like effect the dew had on the spider webs that are usually just busy trapping flies and other insects.
Yes, spiderwebs have a job to do, but that doesn’t mean one can’t admire their construction and strength. That water had to be heavy, but the webs held up. There was also a light breeze, and I wish I’d thought to take video of the webs as they danced around, still holding on to most of their water droplets.
I didn’t see any evidence of spiders in any of the webs I saw, including ones around the grounds near my house. They were probably avoiding their webs until it dried off a bit.
I figured most of the webs I saw were woven by an orbweaver, judging from their shape. I know that the yellow garden spiders (Argiope aurantia) are mostly gone, so I ruled them out. But I’ve seen a couple of different orbweavers around this fall and I’m not sure which ones they are, because I haven’t gotten any confirmation from iNaturalist reviewers (follow the link to view and confirm or deny my guesses!). Most appear to have been Western spotted orbweavers (Neoscona oaxacensis) or tuft-legged orbweavers (Mangora placida).
This morning was still damp, but not as foggy, so the webs were back to being almost invisible, but hey, I spotted a brown lump in one of the webs. I found her! The webs by the RV seem to be made by yet another orb weaving friend, the furrow orbweaver (Larinioides cornutus), which I have seen before in Milam County. The pattern is quite different from the others I’d been seeing this summer, so I’m fairly confident, even though no one has confirmed the observation yet (I just put it up a couple of hours ago).
I was happy to be able to know to whom I owed the debt of gratitude for the spectacle of web adornment I got to enjoy yesterday.
I do think maybe one or two of the webs were made by different spiders, especially the one by the front gate, which was made by an old spidey buddy of mine, who, judging by her coloration, is probably the Spotted Orbweaver (Neoscona crucifera). These webs aren’t quite as neat and tidy as the ones by the RV.
Well, regardless of whether my identifications are right or not, I’ve had fun with the orbweavers in my vicinity, and hope you enjoyed learning a little more about them. Below are some more of my photos of these cool arachnids and their webs.