Spider Sleuthing in the San Juans – Day 12

Here’s my collection of spiders from the weekend roaming around our home and yard. None of these are spiders you should fear, nor would a bite to you be medically significant. The ones most at risk are the poor little spiders who just want to avoid you. Be kind!

Cross Orb Weaver (Araneus diadematus)

San Juan Island, WA

09.18.2020

Cross Orb Weaver (Araneus diadematus)

San Juan Island, WA

09.18.2020

Gnaphosid sp. (maybe Zelotes sp.)

The Gnaphosids are known as the Stealthy Ground Spiders

San Juan Island, WA 09.18.2020

Found inside home on carpet

Gnaphosidae (maybe Zelotes sp.)

San Juan Island, WA 09.18.2020

found inside home on carpeting

Metellina sp. Orb Weaver

San Juan Island, WA 09.18.2020

female

Metellina sp. Orb Weaver

San Juan Island, WA 09.18.2020

Sierra Dome Spider (Neriene litigiosa)

San Juan Island, WA

August 13, 2020 (I believe same individual as photographed 09.18.2020)

female ?

Sierra Dome Spider Web

San Juan Island, WA

This was photographed at San Juan Island NHP’s English Camp (Bell Point Trail) on 08.23.2020

Calymmaria sp.

San Juan Island, WA

outside near rock pile (they make conical webs often suspended beneath ledges or in caves

09.18.2020

Caterpillar Rescue – Dagger in Distress!

Saturday, September 19, 2020. San Juan Island, WA – Caterpillar rescue!

Acronita impleta – Yellow-haired Dagger Moth caterpillar. San Juan Island, WA 09.19.2020


I found one of these several years ago (September 20, 2017 to be exact), so I recognized it immediately when I saw it squirming in the spider webbing along the house this morning. My husband said I should just leave it alone. “Nature is ugly sometimes and you can’t interfere.” Well, when it was still there four hours later, suspended mid air, and still squirming, my tendency to SAVE things kicked in. The spider living above that web was actually dead. I’m not feeling very guilty about stealing food from a dead spider.

Acronita impleta – Yellow-haired Dagger Moth caterpillar. San Juan Island, WA 09.19.2020
Acronita impleta – Yellow-haired Dagger Moth caterpillar. San Juan Island, WA 09.19.2020


I got a cup and gently pulled at the web and began the process of freeing this caterpillar. It took finding my reading glasses and getting some fine-pointed tools to gently ply away the sticky bonds and clean the strands off the caterpillar hairs.

Acronita impleta – Yellow-haired Dagger Moth caterpillar. San Juan Island, WA 09.19.2020
Yellow-haired Dagger Moth (Acronita impleta)


I think it looks pretty good! I even picked it some dinner and we’ll see if I can keep it healthy through pupation and adulthood.

Yellow-haired Dagger Moth (Acronita impleta)

More about Yellow-haired Dagger Moths here:

Spider Sleuthing in the San Juans – Day 11 – Arachnid Advocates Needed

I had to take the weekend off! Fatigue is setting in from the smoke and the yellow haze cast over the island isn’t helping. I’m weary of viewing responses from folks about how they want to “kill” any poor hapless spider that makes its way into their home. Arachnophobia is tough, but thousands of innocent creatures could escape a horrible death (stomping, squishing, flushing) as a result of human hysteria if only….if ONLY…that human might take a moment to educate themselves about the poor soul they just MURDERED. If you are guilty of this and you’re feeling badly, GOOD! It means there is hope for you to change your ways. Become an arachnid A-D-V-O-C-A-T-E!

A friend of mine shared the article linked below on Facebook today. It’s timely in that it speaks to the over sensationalized media reports that cast a negative light on spiders…and other insects. We need to change how we think of them! Check it out.

https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/pan3.10143?fbclid=IwAR3UA5nTITpw_x404VtlT-F2-Z-dqG1uVzYko5Tq1mM5kCBIWvW9R64w4qA

For today, please don’t relocate your little (or big) house spider outdoors! Leave it in the corner to do its thing. It’s going to wander a bit, but it isn’t going to bite you or harm your pets. Be curious about it. If you name it, it can become part of your family! If you want an ID for that spider, send me a message or post a photo on my Facebook Page (Bugs of the San Juan Islands).

https://www.facebook.com/buggingyoufromSJI

Thanks for reading!

p.s. Here are some neat spidee links to check out! It’s time to advocate for your eight-legged friends

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/uk-england-nottinghamshire-49804294

https://www.ranker.com/list/cute-spider-pictures/eric-vega

https://www.facebook.com/RosieTheSpood

Synchronized sunbathers

One of my high school friends from Texas posted this cool video the other day of these “Synchronized sunbathers.” They emerged all at once, ALL over the golf course in Paige, TX.

Rove Beetle roves across the Bathroom Floor 09.11.2020

I found this teeny Staphylinid or Rove Beetle roving across my bathroom floor this morning. When I say “teeny,” it is exactly that! At about 3mm, I’m surprised I even saw it. 👀

Tachinus or Crab-like Rove Beetle – San Juan Island, WA 09.11.2020
Tachinus or Crab-like Rove Beetle – San Juan Island, WA 09.11.2020
Tachinus or Crab-like Rove Beetle – San Juan Island, WA 09.11.2020

This beetle has weird little setae all over the abdomen. I had to take some photos (and video) before I let it go back to doing whatever it was doing. Maybe it was heading back to somewhere behind the wall where it has its own little home. 🏡, or maybe this 🏕, or even this….🏰

Tachinus or Crab-like Rove Beetle – San Juan Island, WA 09.11.2020

“What sort of Rove Beetle is this?” you might ask. Well, this rove beetle is in the insect order Staphylinidae and genus Tachinus, the Crab-Like Rove Beetles. Check out the link on bugguide.net to read more about them. https://bugguide.net/node/view/14062

Thanks for stopping by!

September Spider Sleuthing in the San Juans – Day 10 – A Home with Folding Doors

I found this spider in our barn in August and thought it was dead, so I did what I often do – grab it and pick it up! Hmmm. This spider moved. It was alive.

This is a Folding Door Spider, Antrodiaetus pacificus. While I’m not 100% certain, I do believe this is a male since there was no burrow nearby and it’s “wandering” season. Most of the time, females are inside or near the entrance to their burrow.

Folding door spiders are the “tarantulas” of the Pacific Northwest. Their scientific name comes from Greek antrodiaitos (αντροδιαιτος)- “living in caves”, from antron (αντρον)- “cave” + diaita (διαιτα)- “way of life, dwelling” – according to https://bugguide.net/node/view/23442 They build their homes (burrows) in rotting or decaying wood or moss, living in moist, forested areas where they are rarely seen.

Females are approximately 13mm in size, with males a bit smaller at 11mm. They are classified as Mygalomorph spiders, the more primitive spiders with one pair of book lungs.

Occasionally, they become victims of spider hunting wasps. These wasps sting and paralyze the spider, then drag them into a burrow. The wasp lays her eggs on the spider, then leaves. The developing larvae feast on the poor spider while it is still alive.

Please be kind to these harmless, gentle giants!

Antrodiaetus pacificus – San Juan Island, WA 08.10.2020
Antrodiaetus pacificus – San Juan Island, WA 08.10.2020
Antrodiaetus pacificus – San Juan Island, WA 08.10.2020

September Spider Sleuthing in the San Juans – Day 8 Araneus diadematus, the Cross Orb weaver

Yesterday my husband was outside working on our deck (without much help from me). The weekend projects can be overwhelming, especially when I’m so easily distracted every time I find a BUG. This one was perfect for my post today!

Female Cross Orb Weaver, Araneus diadematus 09.07.2020

First off, it’s a SHE spider! This fall beauty is a female Cross Orb Weaver, Araneus diadematus. She was hanging out on the side of the house, just under the eave. I had to carefully climb a ladder to get a photo, but it was completely worth the risk.

Female Cross Orb Weaver, Araneus diadematus 09.07.2020

Orb Weavers are in the family Araneidae. These are some of the most beautiful and commonly seen spiders in our area. They weave the classic and typically vertical, orb-shaped web that we often see in our gardens.

March 29, 2013, Photo by Cynthia Brast-Bormann

While Araneus diadematus is not a native species and was introduced from Western and Northern Europe, it has become naturalized here and ranges across North America now. Bugguide.net gives the North American (including Canada) range for A. diadematus as the following localities – “diadematus – BC, WA, OR, MI, OH, PA, ON, NY, QC, RI, MA, NS, NL.”

Male and female specimens have different morphology (size, shape). Female body length can be from 6-20mm and they are fuller and more rounded. Male body length varies from 6-13mm and they are more narrowed in body shape.

Male A. diadematus

Typically, even though they are around in spring, we don’t notice them until later in the fall (like now). Females will be waiting on their web for a wandering male to find them. Males are not usually seen on webs since they are often on the move to find “Miss Right.”

The female A. diadematus will lay her last clutch of eggs in fall before dying, usually timed with our first frost. The eggs will overwinter. The eggs will hatch in springtime when temperatures warm, releasing hundreds of baby spiderlings!

June 13, 2013 – San Juan Island “Orb-Weaver Spiderlings”

I found this interesting poem online about Orb Weavers that I’ll leave you with today. Thanks for stopping by!

Araneus diadematus

Our cradle empty, we shall climb

To a high place, to catch the wind

And fly, strewing gossamer as we go,

Singly, flowing without will, to land

Wherever.

We shall know, by the compass

Blotched in white upon our backs,

Where to spin the spokes, and how

To spire the wheel; with one leg, feel

The trembling.

Approach too fast, and we shall quake,

And blur the whorl with shaking

From the underside, the compass

Pointing down, our legs the eight points

Taking.

At night we eat the orb, conserve

The silk, to spin again by morning,

Indelicately, cramming all

Into open mouths, every spoke

Consuming.

We spin the globes of nurture

After mating, span them so,

With loving claws, adore the

Minor worlds we make, compass

Turning.

Entwined in silk, their spinnerets

Are forming, massed bundles

Of eyes, and legs, and fangs

Entangling. Each of us

Expiring.

Source material. Veronica Godines, Araneus diadematus, http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu. Theodore H. Savory, The Spiders and Allied Orders of the British Isles, London, 1945, pp. 130–131. The common “Garden Spider” has a characteristic “cross” on its back, and is the archetypal orb-weaver. Immatures, already orphans by the time they emerge, go out to seek their fortunes by abseiling more or less at random on air-currents, attached to an anchor point by nothing but a thread of gossamer.

Spider Sleuthing in The San Juans – Day 7 Debunking Spider myths

Today, I’m going to introduce you to Rod Crawford in my post. Rod is the curator and spider expert (GENIUS) at the Burke Museum in Seattle. He is the go-to guy for anything you would possibly want to know about spiders.

One thing I really like about Rod are his efforts to debunk some of the most common myths about spiders. For instance, putting that spider you find in your house outdoors is good for the spider and where it belongs. Nope. Nope. Nope,….and one more big ole’ NOPE! Take a look here to read what Rod says about where some spiders live (including indoors), and why tossing them outdoors is not a good idea.

https://www.burkemuseum.org/collections-and-research/biology/arachnology-and-entomology/spider-myths/myth-house-spiders-belong

So, if you haven’t come across some of Rod’s work, check out some of these links and watch the YouTube video below.

https://www.burkemuseum.org/collections-and-research/biology/arachnology-and-entomology/spider-myths

Spider Sleuthing in The San Juans – Day 6, Mommy Long Legs!

Last night I spied this sweet little Pholcid spidee mom-to-be in the corner of our bedroom. Pholicid is short for Pholcidae, the Cellar spiders.  These are the spiders we know colloquially as Daddy Long Legs or in her case, Mommy Long Legs.  Not to be confused with the other sort of Daddy/Mommy Long Legs, the Harvestmen, which actually aren’t spiders at all!  

Pholcus phalangioides with egg sack 09.05.2020 – San Juan Island, WA
Pholcus phalangioides with egg sack 09.05.2020 – San Juan Island, WA

This little “she” spider is most likely Pholcus phalangioides.  My photos aren’t great.  I was standing on a chair holding my phone out as long as my arm would reach to try and get a picture, but didn’t want to disturb her too much.

 If you look closely, you’ll see she is carrying her eggs in her mouth.  These eggs are carefully held in a delicate silk net until they hatch. Even after hatching, the teeny little spiderlings are carried around in their mother’s mouth until they are able to venture off on their own. 

Pholcus phalangioides with egg sack 09.05.2020 – San Juan Island, WA


Pholcus phalangioides spiders are often found inside homes or structures, make untidy, haphazard webs, are great at catching pests in your home, including other spiders!  Males live for about a year, dying usually after mating.  Females can reach the very old age of 3.  That’s quite a long time to have a spider in your home.


I’ll leave you with a few neat links to check out:  What to expect when your Cellar Spider is expecting – http://ibycter.com/what-to-expect-when-your-cellar-spider-is-expecting/ , Two months in the life of a mummy long legs –http://spiderblogger.blogspot.com/2011/01/daddy-long-legs-hatching.html  and last but not least (this one has incredible photos), Daddy-longlegs, vibrating or cellar spiders https://ednieuw.home.xs4all.nl/Spiders/Pholcidae/Pholcidae.htm


Thanks for reading!  Be nice to spiders.  

Spider Sleuthing in the San Juans – Day 5 Be Nice to Spiders!


When I was a little girl, my mom read me this book, “Be Nice to Spiders.” We read it together many, many times! It was probably one of my earliest introductions to the wonder of ecological systems and definitely played a role in the development of my love for animals and nature.

My mom didn’t have the opportunity for a college education and was a pretty young mom at 23. She did however, grow up in the mountains of North Carolina, loved nature, and she had a “story” for everything! It made learning about leaves, bugs, rocks, and animals of all kinds really fun.

I was extremely lucky to have a mom like that and to be exposed to so many science opportunities, even though I didn’t really see it as science at the time. As a parent myself, and someone with a background in education, I can’t express enough to other parents out there how important it is to connect your children with nature…in a kind way! Help them to see living things with wonder and respect for all life. Especially spiders!

Here’s a YouTube read aloud of Be Nice to Spiders. There were several, but I just liked this woman for some reason. I’m sure the San Juan Island library has a copy of the book too, and if not, there’s always Griffin Bay Books, Serendipity, Abebooks, and Amazon where you can find a copy for your bookshelf.

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