It was a warm, sunny day in the outskirts of the city. The windows were open and the sheer curtains were billowing in the breeze. The day was lazy with the cats perched on the window sills, ears and tails twitching. I was digging around in my supplies when I heard the strangest sound. It... Continue Reading →
Single male spider seeking mature female
Single male spider seeking mature female. Must have pitted carapace, be between 6 and 7 mm, and have white "T" marking on the front of the abdomen. Likes to hang out, do ropes courses, and enjoys romantic insect dinners at twilight.*** I was visiting family in the Jefferson Hills area south of Pittsburgh over the winter... Continue Reading →
What the heck is "Spider Camp"?? It popped up this past spring (2018) on the American Arachnological Society facebook page: "Spider Biology summer course at Stone Lab (Ohio State University) - can be taken as a workshop". I applied immediately. This endeavor instantly became my summer highlight. I could not wait! I have never taken a... Continue Reading →
What Lurks in the Storage Room?
It ain't roaches.
The Egg Sac Gallery
Spiders lay eggs. Depending on species, they can lay thousands of eggs or just one single egg as is the case with the tiny spiders in the genus Monoblemma (found in tropical Africa and tropical Americas). The featured image above shows the egg sac of Argiope aurantia (AKA banana spider, garden spider, Steelers spider) on the left... Continue Reading →
Habitat for Spiderology
Back in the day, I used to catch spiders and keep them in pickle jars that still smelled like pickles. I would use a kitchen steak knife to punch holes in the lids. I still have a scar between my thumb and index finger from missing once. I would toss grass in 'ere, label the... Continue Reading →
Smorgasbord of Orbs
Of the four common types of spider webs, the orb web is the classic spiderweb. Its engineering beauty and perfection is unrivaled in the animal kingdom. Orb webs are composed of four basic parts: the frame, the radial threads (spokes), the hub, and the sticky spiral. Only the spiral is sticky. Spiders have the ability... Continue Reading →
Within Spitting Distance
I used to work at Fireborn Studios, a pottery studio in the Southside of Pittsburgh. Part of my job was packing and shipping pottery to wholesale accounts. The packing area was in the basement, a typical cobwebby, dusty, albeit dry basement with no windows. I would occasionally....okay, OFTEN get distracted by the bugs that would... Continue Reading →
It's that time of year! The crispy edges of summer, back to school, football, AND adult Argiope aurantia season. You may know her as the banana spider, garden spider, black and yellow spider, Steelers spider, or some other nickname, but we're all talking about the same lady. Yes, the spider you notice is the female of the species. Males... Continue Reading →
“Daddy long legs” is an impostor!
Spiders are arachnids. Depending on what source you look at, there are 10-12 different types of arachnids. Spiders are one type of arachnid or one order with the fancy name Araneae (pronounced a-RA-nee-ee). All arachnids have eight legs, two body parts (sometimes fused to look like one), never any antennae, and never any wings. In addition... Continue Reading →