Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Halloween Creepy Crawlies

This has been quite the autumn for spider spotting around here! In only the past few weeks, I've spotted the creepy crawlies I'm going to share pics of here. I started off with that cute decorating spider cartoon to warn off anyone who is traumatized by spiders. There are some here that might make you feel like your screen is crawling!

I spotted three new spiders this month and have managed to identify some of them with the help of the internet. This first one is a standard garden spider or Argiope aurantia. (Obviously, I'm going to stick with calling them garden spiders.)  This far away pic shows how big she is next to regular siding. Pretty big, hey?

Something interesting about this spider is that she catches her prey and wraps it up in webbing for a snack at a later time. I'm not sure where she stores the little bundles of food - probably a spider fridge of sorts in part of the larger web, although I never spotted any leftovers. By the way, I'm nearly 100% sure this is a female, because it's mainly the female spiders who are out and about (alive). The adult males have mostly become another snack for the females.

Here she is a little closer:

The Garden Spider will generally keep her web in the same place all summer long, just waiting for those snacks to drop by. And get this - each night she will eat the center of the web and rebuild it! Maybe she's tidying up? One theory is that she's getting any little nutrients or bug "crumbs" that are left on the web. Nothing goes to waste.


Big as she is, this spider isn't something for you to be scared of. She isn't aggressive by nature, but if you did for some reason want to grab her, the most you'd get is a bee sting type bite.

I love Daddy-LongLegs! This one was so beautiful and delicate and nicely stayed put for me to take multiple photos. All of these spiders were cooperative in that way. By the way, that black border is there so I can show the photo larger. I don't know why with blogger, but I'm able to post the vertical pictures a lot larger than the horizontal ones. 

This little guy is a mystery. Can anyone help me identify him? This spider was super tiny and looks a lot larger here because I was up in his face taking photos.

He was inside of a container I turned over today. What a nice surprise, as I was planning to put up this spider themed post already! The sun cast a long, spooky spidery, shadow that I actually think is cooler than the spider itself!

So something that you would never see in real life, but can see magnified here, are the markings on this spider. There are two dark marks on his head and this light marbleized pattern on his body. That might help in identification.

This of course isn't a spider, but I had to share it anyway. How cool to see a Halloween colored caterpillar mid-October! In addition to some cool coloring, this caterpillar has the cute name of "Woolly Bear".

This caterpillar was very active and fast moving. I had to kind of chase it around as it explored the leaves. I found this photo adorable.

The Woolly Bear also gave wall climbing a try, but soon tired of that. If you look closely, probably by clicking on this pic, you might just see a black nose at the top of this caterpillar. At least that's what I interpret it as.

For those of you who are curious about what this caterpillar will mature into, it becomes an Isabella Tiger Moth. Another cool name, but the moth isn't quite as cute as the caterpillar. If you're interested in seeing what one looks like:

Isabella Tiger Moth

I guess they're pretty as moths go...

The Woolly Bear/Isabella Tiger Moth has quite the life, which you can read about in more detail here. Some neat trivia I learned here is that in extremely cold places where the summer is short, the Woolly Bear must go through several summers to get enough food/energy in it to pupate. The caterpillars have a special "cryoprotectant" which keeps them alive through freezing conditions. You can think of it as a sort of antifreeze. So the Woolly Bear can keep up this cycle of living through frozen weather/briefly feeding in warm weather for years! I read that these guys can even last through 14 summers. That's a surprisingly old Woolly Bear!

As far as the rumor about fuzzy caterpillars being poisonous, it appears that's not the case with the Woolly Bear. I'll be honest, I was thinking about those rumors while taking these photos. I'd heard that each of these fuzzy bits was actually a spike with venom in it! From what I just read, they wouldn't actually inject poison into a person, but you could still get dermatitis from touching one. That doesn't look like any fun! So as sweet and fuzzy as they look, it's not worth getting some crusty skin condition by touching them.

Have you guys been seeing a lot of Halloween creepy crawlies this month? There are still a few more weeks to go...


P.S. ~ I'm planning to do the Halloween Blog Party again this year! So you're all welcome to send me a costumed photo of yourself from any point of your life, and I'll include you at the party. I'll probably put up that blog post on the 23rd or 24th of this month.

Update! I saw a new spider today:

I was shaking out a piece of fabric outside and about five of these little guys crawled out in different directions. I happened to have my camera out there with me so I quickly took a photo of one of them. Then it occurred to me that this might be a Brown Recluse and I thought Uh Oh. So I went online and compared my pic to that of a Brown Recluse. Luckily this wasn't a Brown Recluse. With the help of some Twitter friends, I now know this is a Wolf Spider.


  1. Cool spiders but I cannot tell you what any of them are.

    1. Lady M ~ Well, that last one is a mystery to me. I'll be surprised if someone can tell me what kind of spider it is. It's so tiny in reality that I'm not sure people would even recognize it from these pics. I tried describing it the best I could with google, but I didn't end up with any search results that matched what I saw.

  2. I like a lady with an appreciation of spiders. Our house has such an abundance of spiders, and my roommates are too squeamish about them for my tastes. Of course, I grew up playing with spiders, so they don't bother me.

    Incidentally, I was out working in my yard earlier, and I discovered the most adorable like black and olive striped garden snake.

    1. Voodoo Ghoul ~ Why, thank you! Do you have any spiders like the ones pictured here in your house? Well, I'm sure you wouldn't have a garden spider inside since they like being out in the garden. But maybe you've seen some like the other two. Have you ever seen a zebra spider? I saw my first zebra spider this summer and it was an awesome little thing. Of course, by the time I'd run in to get my camera it had disappeared.

      A lot of people are afraid of spiders. I'm not really sure why. I guess because of how they move? I think that for the most part they're pretty and graceful. Plus, they eat a lot of the bugs I don't like. And I like looking at the webs they make, well the ones outdoors anyway. Short of a black widow or brown recluse, I don't think they pose much of a threat to us.

      A black and olive striped garden snake, eh? I'd like to see a picture of it if you see it again!

  3. Justine - The female eats the male? That sent shivers down my spine! I love the spider shadows, that is so cool! It fun identifying, isn't it? Yes, I have to agree, the caterpillar is cool, halloween-colored. Funny how mother-nature made a colored catapillar for Halloween, matching the leaves of autumn.

    1. Matt ~ Ha! Yeah, it's unfortunately true for the male spiders. As I wrote that, I thought how that bit of news would probably send a shiver down the spines of all the guys reading this. :)

      I love spider shadows too! I couldn't have asked for a better one than this. That shadow was like what you'd hope to see in a spider puppet show. Not that I've ever seen a spider puppet cast a shadow, but I can imagine it. :) I was really lucky with the light that afternoon.

      Yeah, isn't it funny? All part of nature's plan! The orange and black does seem like more than a coincidence. That coloring made the caterpillar an extra cool surprise. I don't think I'd ever seen one so close before. He seemed to be enjoying those autumn leaves too!

  4. Yime to play the Who's Boris the spider!

  5. Replies
    1. DJ Trish ~ Haha! Yeah, that would definitely be good background music to listen to while looking at these pictures. That caterpillar was cool. He had a lot of personality for a bug. :)

  6. England has to have more spiders per square foot than any country I've lived in. You don't see many of them until the Fall, then there's lots around. I'm told that with house spiders, the ones you do see will almost always be males. The females and young are rarely seen. Not sure if that's the case with the outdoor variety. Its fascinating to watch them making their webs, isn't it.


    1. Ali ~ Oh? I read a statistic in a book recently about how many spiders are in a square foot of rural land. The statistic was for America, though. Whatever the number was, it blew my mind. I just looked online and the first number that came up was 50,000. Hmm... That seemed high, but the next site said something like a million. Well, there are a lot anyway! They must be counting the ones that are super tiny.

      I don't know about house spiders. The big garden spider pictured was almost definitely female. I called the other little guy with a shadow a "he" just to be fair I guess. That and I was maybe feeling bad for male spiders after just writing about the male garden spider's fate earlier. :) But who really knows. There isn't really a way for me to find out since I couldn't identify it.

      As far as the spider's young, I'd rather not see them! I saw a bunch hatch on the ceiling once and eww. Adult spiders are cool with me, the little hatching eggs not so much.

      It is fascinating to watch them on their webs! I'm not sure if I've ever seen one making a web, but maybe tending to one. And I've certainly seen them hang down from the ceiling and shoot back up enough times! That happened to me in the shower the other day. It was like a cartoon! The spider came down on its web in front of my face, I was like "eek!" and it shot right back up to the ceiling. :)

  7. That's nice to know that the garden spiders aren't aggressive - we have a HUGE one right outside the back door - next to the porch light, but she hangs right at eye level. She rebuilds the web every couple days, too. I'm sure she appreciates us leaving the light on so it attracts bugs into her web.

    1. Lisa ~ Yeah, I can understand thinking a spider that large might be aggressive! I was doing some googling before taking pictures to be sure. Even knowing it was safe to get near, I felt a little squeamish taking the photos of that one. So your spider looks a lot like my garden spider, hey? I never saw mine rebuild the middle of her web so that's interesting that you caught a glimpse of that happening. I guess you just have to be out at the right time! Yes, I'm sure your spider does appreciate you attracting all those little meals for her. :)