Friday, October 10, 2014

Shift workers

Just outside my back door, a cobweb spider has laid claim to a gap between a post and the wall, and is raising a large family. The first of her spiderlings left their egg sac three weeks ago.

Mamma, babies, and future babies in the second sac.

Yesterday, I checked her web. There were no spiderlings; they've gone off to start their own webs. But there was a third egg sac. Busy mother!

I was standing on a stool, looking to see if any of the little ones were nearby, and almost hit a much bigger spider with my head; she's hanging right over my door where a tall man is likely to find her in his hair.

Watch your hat!

And directly above the door, in the angle between wall and ceiling, another spider was huddled, as if to keep warm, her legs pulled in close to her body. Not hunting; she's a web maker, and there was no web.

Sleeping spider.

I went out today again. The big hat-catcher was still hanging in the same place, and the sleeper hadn't moved. The days are colder now; has she just shut down for the winter, I wondered?

I just went out again, with flashlights, at 2:00 AM. There's no sign of the big spider, nor of her web. But the sleeper has built herself a messy web near her corner, and is sitting in it, waiting for night-flying critters.


  1. The cross spiders will hold off on web building if their spidey senses detect that rain is imminent. Not sure if they do this by monitoring barometric pressure and humidity, but there's not much point in spending an hour to build a web if it'll be destroyed.

    Also, the more mature females (ones that have mated already) will leave their homes to find a dry nook to lay their batch of eggs. Shortly after that, they die (I have yet to see a live mature araneus in the spring). The sleeping one you photographed might be on such a journey, though I've typically only seen them later in the year (Nov/Dec).

  2. This morning, she's back sleeping in the angle between wall and ceiling. No sign of a web.

    I'll have to check her again tonight.


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