Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Yard Critter of the Week

Yellow Garden Spider.


These large spiders are rather obvious in garden areas in late summer and early fall, appearing seemingly out of nowhere. In reality they've been there all along, just smaller. And the large ones, like the one pictured here, are females. The males are not as bright and only a quarter to a third of the size of the ladies.


Like the Praying (or is it "Preying"?) Mantis featured few weeks ago, these spiders will eat anything caught in their webs, including the aforementioned mantis. You want these in your garden for 'pest' control (in scare quotes as they'll eat both desirable and undesirable insects).


The prominent zigzag webbing is called a "stabilimenta" as it was originally thought to help stabilize the web. But the true use is not yet known. My favorite explanation is that it is a sign to ward off birds. The idea being the birds, which would have otherwise not seen the web, will see this and avoid flying through, and thus destroying, the web.

As we plant to attract pollinating insects, our gardens are teeming with bugs. And these spiders set up shop throughout to take advantage of the bounty. A sign methinks that we have a healthy yard.

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You can find all of the Yard Critter of the Week posts listed here.

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