Sunday, September 08, 2013

Pinhead spiders, pinhead spider food

With the onset of fall weather, we've been hurrying to finish postponed summer gardening chores, and settle the gardens in for the rains. In the last three days, Laurie chopped down a small tree and we dug out its roots. By hand, digging and chopping, prying and scraping. I thought we'd never get it done. I've finished cutting down the summer's crop of ivy that was making a new onslaught on our evergreens. The rhododendrons are pruned. My shade garden is cleaned up, fertilized and mulched. The hawkweeds are no more.


I was too tired to look at the blog yesterday.

This afternoon, the last thing I (thought) I would do before I quit for the day was to cut off a couple of old hydrangea flower heads whose stems had broken.

There were spiders among the drying petals. I went for the camera.

Worn out dark blue hydrangea

The spiders were all tiny, some barely big enough to cover a pinhead, some slightly bigger, but more mobile.

I snapped umpteen variants of this; Ma spider just slipping around to the far side of the stem.

And as I chased spiders, I found a whole community of critters, so small that I hadn't realized they were there. So that's what all the spiders have been eating!

Snail, a couple of millimetres across.

Another snail.

Whiteflies. About 1 - 2 mm. A pest, but they weren't too numerous. And winter is coming.

Baby American house spider. Probably eats whiteflies; they're about her size.

Another one. These were so small that I couldn't see what they were with the naked eye.

A small meadow spittlebug, Philaenus spumarius, about 1/4 inch long. Another of the critters that keep moving to the far side of the leaf.

A very small weevil that I couldn't identify. I like his back markings; the back side of a comic-book hawk? A Sasquatch in a rain cape?

Earwig hiding in the crotch of a flower stem. A composite; one photo had the head in focus, another had the tail. And none had the middle. And then the 'wig ran away.

This earwig was from a few days earlier, on a rhododendron leaf. I really want to get a good photo because I love the markings on the thorax. Try again!

This spider, and several others like her, fell out of the flower heads as I de-leafed them. They're very fast runners.

Chased but not caught: a flock of those orange flies with the red, red eyes. And I put my head, again, through a cross spider's web.


  1. Beautiful little critters, well done.

  2. A lot of tiny critters here!

  3. =) Nice. I love finding things that I'd overlooked FOREVER. Esp. tinies. I applaud your appreciation of the pattern on an earwig's back. I'm not a fan, so your observation may help me remedy my bias. =)

  4. Thanks!

    biobabbler, I've never been too crazy about earwigs, either. But once I got over their general slitheriness, and those big pincers at the tail, I discovered that they're actually quite handsome.

  5. Amazing what was lurking in that hydrangea head! Such variety.


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