New Spider in my Life

Look, out there on the island

Look, out there on the island

Down at the pond, one of my favorite places to seek and learn about new fauna in the habitat I’ve allowed to restore, I spotted some marble sized round things attached to the vegetation out on the tussock.  Sedges, bladderwort, yellow-eyed grasses and rushes all have taken hold on the island to provide a lush place for various arthropods, reptiles and aquatic fauna to raise their young.

Cocoons of some sort?

Cocoons of some sort?

I zoomed to get some photos and was pleased to discover that these orbs were some sort of spider egg sac.

Something is protecting them

Something is protecting them

Not all people get excited about spiders, but I’m grateful for them, as they are beneficial players in our beautiful wildlife gardens.  One of the better pest control agents, there are thousands of arachnid species, big, small; ground dwellers, flower favorers; those that like to build webs and live in the middle of the air; those who prefer cocoon-type homes; some who jump on their prey; some so tiny that you care barely see them and a lot with unusual shapes.

That looks interesting

That looks interesting

From my distant perch on the banks of the pond, most photos were not as clear as I would like. I decided that it was some sort of orb-weaver…now, which one?

Surprisingly, little did I know I had already learned my answer in an Entomology Group I follow on Facebook.  Someone had posted a picture of a spider and I was able to identify it as a member of the Acanthepeira genus, specifically A. stellata commonly called Starbellied Orbweaver.  They are unmistakably unique looking.

Wait, I've seen that shape before....just the past week

Wait, I’ve seen that shape before….just in the past week

When I finally got a clear enough shot of my island spider I was astonished when it had the shape of that spider I had identified just days before.  Easy peasy identification week.

A little blurry, but you get the drift

A little blurry, but you get the drift

Because of the difference in coloration, mine may well be A. venusta but, according to Bugguide.net

“It is exceedingly difficult to separate some Acanthepeira specimens from the southeastern United States and it appears that three species interbreed.”

The fact that it is out on an island in the middle of the water also makes me think that it may be the latter.  A research study from 1987 discussed A. venusta being capable of aquatic submergence and its common habitat can be floating islands.

Interesting face

Interesting face

Yet another reason that I am glad my unique island returned after it disappeared during last November.

Now we must wait on the spiderlings

Now we must wait on the spiderlings

So I await the birth of my new grand-spideys.  I may have to get out the kayak so I can get photos of the little tykes up close once they arrive.  Stay tuned.

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Comments

  1. says

    What a discovery. . .I’ve never seen multiple egg sacs before, and they are lined up so neatly. As a weaver/spinner I can appreciate this spider’s attention to craftsmanship and detail! I hope you will post pictures of the young ‘uns.

    • says

      Hi Cynthia!

      I’m getting better and better at the anthropod identification, not always getting it down to species, but I’m getting faster and faster at determining family. The one I identified for the other guy I had never seen in person, but immediately knew it was an orbweaver and just needed to scan through the families to find a similar shape and size.
      Loret recently posted..Longjawed Orbweavers Spider (Tetragnatha spp.)

    • says

      The pond is about 90 x 30 so it is pretty much pointless to paddle the 11ft kayak in a straight line, but I do sometimes paddle around the perimeter to get a little exercise when the water is at it’s highest point and the perimeter is an optimum size.

      I have seen and photographed a few spider actually walking on the water. Fascinating critters.

      I posted a couple of photos of the tussock (island). If you click on them, you can see the full size photos.
      Loret recently posted..The tussock

    • says

      Thanks Marilyn!

      I pretty much learn as I go. Still can’t believe how much I missed in my first half-century of life.

      I do hope that I can zero in on the spiderlings when they arrive.
      Loret recently posted..The tussock

  2. says

    Amazing and congratulations Spideyma! I always enjoy learning of a new bug. I am awed that this spider can submerge like a submarine! I am also impressed with the number of egg sacs. It certainly does have a unique look about it – and a very cool name.

    • says

      Yes! This was one of my more interesting spider finds. Seems that Oct/Nov is spider time in Florida. I keep finding various species around…many new to me which always excites me!
      Loret recently posted..The tussock

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