Thursday, July 9, 2020

Western Spotted Orb Weaver

I'm not usually into insects and spiders, but I was with two of my granddaughters last Monday, known on-line as Squirrel and Bug, and we visited Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake. As we crossed the causeway to the island I stopped to look at some Franklin's gulls and the girls' eyes focused on large spiders suspended between sagebrush bushes on large webs. While I took photos of the gulls, the girls went gaga over the spiders, looking at them and photographing them. The spiders were everywhere. 
As I confessed to Squirrel later, I'm not a fan of spiders. I really dislike them. She was surprised. She is fascinated by them. I looked at those horrible-looking large spiders, sometimes three or four to a web, stretched between most of the sagebrush bushes and it chilled any desire I had to walk through the sagebrush. 

She pulled out her phone and connected to inaturalist and identified the spiders as western spotted orb weavers. 

The western spotted orb weaver spins a circular web in open areas with sparse vegetation. The spider sits in the center of the web upside down, waiting for insects. The legs of the spider may be red or yellow and they have black bands near the feet. The abdomen is brown with yellow speckles on the side. It has a light central band with a wavy border. 
Females are about twice the size of males and both contain brown, yellow, white, purple and red coloration, but females are brighter and have stronger contrasts. They are venomous and the bite can sting, but it won't hurt humans. 

1 comment:

  1. I love that our granddaughters were looking at spiders while you were looking at birds. Good for them! We can learn a thing or two from them! I also love that the FEMALE spiders are bigger and more colorful.