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?
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.
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.
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: