Midwestern Wanderlog

2016-08-28 – Critters of the Prairie

A morning of thick obscuring fog and low light, clammy feel and damp grasses.

Sunrise Stats!
First light: 5:59 AM
Sunrise: 6:30 AM
Daylight: 14 hrs, 25 min

And yet, even without a visible sunrise, there are still marvelous sights to be seen!  Like dew-covered spiderwebs, each one a multi-faceted jewel in the morning.  (I know.  A lot of people just do not like spiders.  And with reason; they can bite, many of them do have venom that even we – large creatures though we are in comparison – react to.  But even though I’m careful not to get too close, I still find them fascinating, and photogenic.)

This one is the funnel weaver (Tegenaria domestica).  (At least, I’m fairly sure that’s what it is.  It hunkered down in its web before the shutter snapped, so I had only the memory of what it looked like to identify it with.)  They do exactly as their name suggests; create a large funnel-shaped web for bugs to blunder into, with itself at the center.  The structure of the web allows the weaver to glide over the surface and capture any insect that gets trapped.  They’re not aggressive, and if they do bite, it’s painless to us.  (Not to their food.)  On most morning up on the Bluff, I’ve no idea that they’re there; but the fog settling on each strand highlights every funnel-web on the hill.  And you would be amazed by how many there are!

This lovely is the Banded Garden Spider (Argiope trifasciata).  You can probably see that it’s related to the Yellow Garden Spider, and yes, they are definitely in the same family.  Once again, this is the female of the species – much larger than the males.  They prefer drier habitats than their alien-faced relative, but that’s about the only difference.  So the range is maybe a hair different.  They aren’t aggressive, any more than the Yellow Garden Spider is, but their bite will feel like a bee sting if you get so close they feel threatened.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *