Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Creepy Crawlies

I'm not a spider guy and try to avoid them, but this one caught my eye yesterday as I was passing with my 400mm telephoto lens.  It had just ripped the head off a dead yellowjacket that looked like it had been snagged in the web for several days.  Then it dragged the skull several feet to a different area of the web to enjoy its meal.

Yellowjacket season is ending and the nests are being shut down for the winter. The workers are irritated and hostile because they're being starved to death by the queens, so the victim in this crime did not have long to live either way.

In return for my curiosity about spiders, and some time on the Internet, I learned a bit. This particular spider appears to be a Garden-Orb Weaver, a relatively common, large arachnid in the Pacific Northwest that builds spiral, wheel-shaped webs in gardens, fields and forests.  The Garden Orb-Weaver is an engineer, often floating a line on the breeze to reach another surface as it starts to build a new web, which it does daily.

And get this: it has eight eyes!


  1. Cool photo. Spiders will always be more interesting to me on film than in person.

  2. Nice shot Dan. I'm impressed that you saw the portrait worthy spider itself. I'm still stuck trying to capture the beauty of a web catching the light or decked with dew. Thanks for showing this close up of an interesting creature and sharing your research, I had no idea they built a whole new web everyday. Now I feel a little less guilty for constantly blundering through and breaking them during my fall garden cleanup chores.

  3. A creepy, Halloween post!
    Now we need ones on bats....