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This Week’s Creature Feature All Dressed Up for Autumn

Orb-weavers put on early fall displays

photo by Jason Posey
     The chill in the air has sent nature’s insect and arachnid world scurrying to get in those last meals. Suddenly we start seeing long-legged and acrobatic guests in our gardens and window frames.
     Many of Bay Weekly’s Facebook followers sent us their favorite photos of garden spiders. Mainly of the orb-weaver variety, these garden and door-stoop visitors are striking in their white, yellow, black and orange stripes and spots. 
     They are the most common among the wheel-shaped webs we see this time of year, admiring their engineering feats of wonder. You know it’s an orb-weaver by the thick crisscross band of silk through the center of their webs, created to catch any flying insect unlucky enough to pass by. 
     As the photos attest, these are large and dramatic spiders.
I have had one next to my front door now for a month. My son and I check on her every day and sometimes toss unlucky moths in there for a quick nature lesson.
–Brad Wells
We have many of these around our house. This one captured a praying mantis.
–Garth Baldridge
Just posted about the one I found last week in my natural habitat on my urban property. I spot males every year, but this is only the second female I’ve found in 25 years. She was snacking on what appeared to be a moth. Since then I have watched her wrap and then consume a cicada! She is much plumper now than when this photo was taken. No egg case yet, and no males anywhere near her, so I located two in another part of the property and relocated them nearby. They have both set up shop within three feet of her. Fingers crossed …
–Debbie Vogel
My guest measured about 1.5" long. She hung around for two days, then was gone.
–Kimberly King
Catching some rays by the pool.
–Ella Pritchard Briones