First is a tiny spider I found last week on a spider hunt with my Nature Reading Group. It is a Cyclosa turbinate (pronounced Sy-clo-sa . ter-bin-ate-ah) and the common name is Trashline Orbweaver. Below you can see how appropriate that name is. If we didn’t already know about this spider we probably would have missed it thinking the stuff in the middle of the web was indeed just trash. But upon closer inspection you can see the spider at the bottom of the line just hanging out. That line of trash was deliberately made for hiding. The female ¼ inch in length and rarely leaves her web. However, if disturbed, she can shake the web so violently it is hard to focus. Out of all the photos I took only the first one turned out. I thought I was the one shaking but it might have been her.
I didn’t notice at the time but later when looking at the photos I notices two egg cases at the top of the trash line.
Spintharus flavidus is an interesting looking spider in the family Theridiidae or cob-footed spiders. They are mostly found on the undersides of leaves with each food supported by a silk thread. The make cobwebs to catch their prey. When a victim is caught in the net the spider runs out of hiding and throws silk over it, wraps it up in a tight package and then bites and sucks it dry. Common House Spiders and Black Widows are members of this family. The male has poor eyesight even for a spider and plucks the threads of a female web to get her attention. I guess they follow the vibrations to find each other. Puts a whole new slant on “Good Vibrations” doesn’t it? Anyway this is a colorful spider and fun to find.
Micrathena mitrata (White Micrathena) is similar to the Spined Micrathena but it only has two spines at the end. I don’t see them as often in the WV Eastern Panhandle. They have a distribution that is further north than the Spined Micrathena and can be found in Maine and Wisconsin. The adults mature in summer. It is an orb weaver as well and in the Family Araneidae. They are about ¼ inch long.
Micrathena mitrata (White Micrathena)
Verrucosa arenata (Arrowhead spider) is a just shy of half inch long and had a yellow triangular pattern on the abdomen. Sometimes that patch can be lighter or darker. Like the Micrathena they build their webs at our face level mainly in the middle or late summer. They rest in the middle with their head up which is the opposite of the Micrathena spiders. Another common name is the triangulate orb weaver. It looks similar to the Spintharus flavidus but when you look at the legs and very close you can see the differences.
Verrucosa arenata (Arrowhead spider)
Hope you enjoy these new additions...I will be working on more between now and Halloween so be sure to visit again.