The neighbor grandkids were here today. We spent a lot of time outdoors and discovered this beautiful spider, the Yellow & Black Argiope. It was not bothered by us at all. We watched and fiddled around it and examined its web, and it just stayed put, happily lounging in it's web-hammock.
Peach is a real nature-lover and she insisted that we get the insect field guide out and read about the spider, which we did. I love it that she is so into nature. I always enjoyed learning about nature with my own kids and now it's fun to share it with the grandies.
The yellow-and-black argiope is a garden-type spider that likes to make its home in low shrubs or flower gardens. They are fairly big -- about 3/4" to 1 1/8" long. This one must be the largest size. It seemed huge to us. It can be found throughout the USA and southern Canada, but is not common in the Rocky Mountains. The web is a vertical orb that radiates out from the center. The book says that the male argiope builds a web in the outlying part of the female's web, making a white zigag band vertically across the middle. The female attaches her spherical , brown egg sac to the side of the web and then dies, knowing that her babies will hatch in the egg sack in fall and be dispersed in the spring. Peach thought immediately of the book, Charlotte's Web when she heard that part. Isn't it wonderful when sweet stories are so easily related to the world of nature?
We found other spider webs on the ground in the grass. We actually see them all over the pastures especially in the morning light or when there's a heavy dew. It's called a Grass Spider and it makes a thick sheet-like web that has a tunnel in it. The spider is very fast and races out of the tunnel when it detects an insect in the web. I remember years ago when our kids would find grasshoppers and other bugs and put them onto these spider webs to watch the spider come up.
Are you seeing any interesting fall phenomenon outdoors? We've also been noticing the birds, particularly blackbirds, flocking into great, big flocks and flying through the air like fast-moving storm clouds. Quite impressive!