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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Spiders on the dairy

Spiders have always fascinated me. Not that I like having them actually touch me or anything. I just like to observe them and their habits.

Here on the dairy we specialize in spider food; namely flies. So one of the perks of living here is having so many different types of spiders to observe. They love to hang out in the milk barn. I wish I were up on which species they were, but I do not know all of them.

There is one type that weave little tunnels back in little cracks in the wall; especially around the windows. They stay put and wait for flies to come along.

Then there are the wolf spiders that just wander around and catch what they can on the fly, so to speak:

Then there is another type that lurks underneath things; she doesn't build a real web, but attaches multiple tendrils of silk to the floor and waits for something to wander into a thread, get stuck and start to struggle. More than I have seen a wolf spider get into this other spider's threads. Yes...and be eaten. It would appear to be cannibalism to us, I suppose, but to them a meal is a meal. It's kind of creepy.

Just a couple of weeks ago while I was out on a walk I saw one of those tiny little dark blue wasps (maybe about the length of your thumbnail) chasing a medium sized wolf spider. I watched them for quite awhile. The spider hid in the leaves and the wasp flitted around, going under and through the leaves 'til it found the spider, which had packed itself into a little curl of a dead leaf. The wasp tugged the limp spider out, and from there I don't know what happened. But the spider wasn't dead, it was just limp, with its legs sprawled out, not curled up like they do when they die. I am sure the wasp laid eggs on the body and tucked it away somewhere.

This past summer while I was gardening I was trimming the grass away from the edges of the garden beds and saw at least 2 of these beasties:

Yep. Black Widows. I squished them. But seeing them still kind of freaked me out; not for my own sake but for Ellen's sake. So many folks want to move to the country to get out of the city; but look what you have to put up with. Black widows and copperheads (snakes-but that's a different post.)

I should have posted this for Halloween. Oh, well.


Donna. W said...

I have seen a LOT of black widows this fall for some reason. Of course, they aren't nearly as poisonous as the Recluse spiders... but I still don't want to get bitten by one!

Anonymous said...

I would wet my pants and scream like a girl if I came across a black widow.

Julie said...

I used to watch for the tarantulas when we walked the dogs on hot summer nights in Tucson.

Here in Alaska we don't have interesting spiders like that, just the regular ones. But we have moose and bear.

Calfkeeper said...

donna-yes, these were the first BW spiders I had ever seen here in MO. It must have been a good spider year.

solomon-you crack me up. It's not like they are going to leap up at you and run you down. ha. Though, if there were on me I would freak out.

julie-now a tarantula might provoke me to scream like a girl, I dunno, I have never met a wild one in person.