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.
I zoomed to get some photos and was pleased to discover that these orbs were some sort of spider egg sac.
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.
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.
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.
Because of the difference in coloration, mine may well be A. venusta but, according to Bugguide.net
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.
Yet another reason that I am glad my unique island returned after it disappeared during last November.
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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