Wednesday, September 02, 2015


     I spent several minutes yesterday watching the spiny micrathena spider in the back yard restringing her web. She's picked a slightly higher spot for the last several days, which I found out by blundering into one of the lower anchors a few days ago. Do spiders remember much? In the morning, she had a nice web up and commenced bouncing when I came too near: "Go away, big critter!" She took to a high corner before I could back off. In the afternoon, only the top cable remained and I feared I had run her off. Nope! A little later, I went out to mount a solar-powered light at one of the gates and she was busily running radials, swinging down from the top to the center, appearing to tie a knot, and clambering down to the bottom along an earlier strand while trailing a new one, stepping over a little, tieing another knot and heading up the new strand to tension it at the center, over and over, with an occasional side-to-side run to keep things centered. (Probably not really tieing knots but it sure looks like it.)

      It looked like exhausting work. Rather than pester, I got my project done and had another look. By then she was happy with the radials and was doing the spiral -- but not in one run! She'd go maybe a third of the way clockwise, tacking the strand down at the crossings, then move just a little to the side and make a counterclockwise strand back. Sticky and non-sticky? I don't know. The entire web-weaving process was very involved, with a lot of strand-testing and adjustment as she went, and appeared to consume every bit of the spider's attention.

      Meanwhile, the front-porch spider I'd spooked the previous evening by trying to get a look from the ground (I could get quite close on the porch -- you can see two of her eyes in the photo) had taken down her web and left it down all day. But it was back up in the evening and the yellow-kneed orb weaver was back at her post in the center, head down, hoping for bugs. Two spots and a line on her abdomen look like a funny little face.

      These are not bad spiders to have around; they clean up after themselves and seems to be getting a lot of flies. Hooray!

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