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"Tis the season for big hairy spiders. I like them; find spiders intriguing, actually. Peak numbers and diversity seem to reach a crescendo in fall, about this time, and a lot of the cool jumbos are easily found now.

Nighttime is the right time for spider-seeking. Most of these eight-legged arachnids are nocturnal, and stay holed up and out of sight during the day. Come the blackness of night, and they emerge to tend their webs, capture prey, and do the things that spiders do. This
bruiser is a Furrow Orbweaver, Larinioides cornutus.
This one had built its web on a spider-rich stop sign. That hole to its right is one of the perforations in the sign post to which the sign is attached. Bet you'd find all kinds of goodies hiding inside there during the day! I've gotten a bit close here - like two inches away with my macro lens - and she has assumed a defensive posture.

There are two common Neoscona orbweavers in Ohio, and this is one: Variable Orbweaver, Neoscona crucifera. We're looking at her underside, through the web. You've probably seen these large thick-bodied spiders in their big, circular webs. I had a beautiful specimen build a large web on my porch two summers ago. During the day, I could look up under a certain shingle, and there she'd be, all eight eyes glaring at me from the shadows. Come dark, and out she'd come, patching up the web and awaiting some hapless victim.

There is something hardwired into our systems that cause us to fear spiders; or we are taught that fear early on. That's too bad. Most are completely harmless, and all are remarkable silk-spinners that rank high among nature's premier architects. With a close look, many spiders are quite showy as well.


Anonymous said…
Hi Jim,

As a child I shared a bedroom with my older sister. She was terrified of spiders. Going to sleep with a spider in the room was out of the question. It just wasn't going to happen. I aquired a bit of that fear but have overcome most of it. Could I sit still and let one crawl on me or photogragh one from a mere two inches away. Not likely. Do I admire thier dew covered webs while birding at dawn. You bet I do.

My question is- Why do spiders bite people? Just yesterday a co-worker was assaulted by a spider while sleeping. Bitten eight times on her Butt-tocks, as Forest Gump would say. Was this violator just hungry for a taste of ham?

Jim McCormac said…
Hi Diana,

Hmmm... spiders normally won't bite someone, unless provovked and then they might in defense, as many animals will. I think that some or many of these alleged bites while sleeping are the work of something else. It would be very odd for a spider to enter someone's bed and attack them.

Not saying I know that might have done it, but unless the spider was caught red-handed, it might be good to consider other options...

Anonymous said…

I have these orb weavers all over the back of my house, back door, and all Windows. I enjoy watching them through my shower window but fear for my life when letting the dogs in and out of my back door. Is there anything I can do to attract them elsewhere? The back of my house at night looks like something out of a horror film.

Anonymous said…
I searched Ohio orb weaver in order to find out the name of Furrows. It led me directly to your site and found me an answer much faster than I anticipated! Anyway, I work midnights and I observe at least 20 different webs that they occupy from the barely visible to the full grown...quite interesting!

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