The habit of the Marbled Orb Weaver Spider is to hide and keep one foot on a “signal” line to the main web. When a flying insect is caught, it races out and grabs the victim. I took that photo using a flash and I think it scared her and she dashed out and ran to the center of the web and just hung there without moving. I hated flushing her but I was glad she was out in the open and I could get a better look.
Leaving her in peace I drove down to the lake and found this Eastern Box turtle in the road. My second one this week! The pattern on the back reminded me a little of the spider.
I love to take photos of critters faces to catch their expressions and anthropomorphize a little. Doesn’t it look like it was eating ice cream with chocolate dripping down the front of its chin? Well, maybe not. Anyway I picked it up and moved it off the road and we both went on our way.
The lake was beautiful as you can see.
There were lots of Odonata (Dragonflies) flying around, adding to the fall colors and activity of the day. Autumn Meadowhawk, Sympetrum vicinum, is in the family Libellulidae and very common this time of year, as the name suggests. The females lay their eggs by dipping the tips of their abdomens on the surface of the water. There were lots of males around defending their territory.
As I was taking this photo of a male I noticed some movement in the background and investigated. What I saw was a Walking Stick just lumbering along. They are really not very graceful as they walk. I believe this one is a Northern Walking Stick, Diapheromera femorata in the family Phasmidae. The ancient Greek phasma means apparition or phantom and refers to the resemblance to sticks or leaves. They are certainly the masters of disappearing before your eyes. They feed at night on the leaves of deciduous trees and shrubs such as oaks and hazelnuts. This one is heading down the trunk of this small tree.
After finding that walking stick, because of its movement, I now had a search image in my mind so when I walked by a bush, a few feet down the trail I noticed this.
And look at the end where all the mating is going on. He is using the claspers to hang onto her. They can stay like this for hours and days. I thought seeing the spider was thrilling but this really made my day. The female drops her eggs singly onto the ground where they overwinter in the leaf litter and hatch in the spring. The eggs resemble tiny seeds that have a structure called an operculum at one end that pops open like a lid when the nymph is ready to emerge. Wouldn’t that be cool to see?