Sunday, August 29, 2010

Seen in the Nature Centre

I know I usually post Sanctuary photos, but this particular bit of wildlife somehow made it inside and has made a beautiful web just below a fluorescent light fixture. I suspect that she'll find another place to go soon, because while the web is beautiful it's in a pretty ineffective place. Give it another day or two and I'd imagine that she'll have eaten the web (the ultimate in recycling) and moved on.

This orb-weaver is known as a Jewel Spider or Jewelled Araneus (Araneus gemmoides), and it's one of the largest spiders to be found in Alberta. The one in the photo was a pretty modest size, but female Jewel Spiders can get large enough to arouse a lot of curiosity -- or sometimes fear -- in people who don't realise that we even have spiders that size here.

A few years ago I wrote a more detailed post (with a clearer picture) on Jewel Spiders. If you'd like more information, it can be found here. And if you're worried about finding such large spiders near your home, just remember that they are shy, very rarely bite, and the bite's not serious for humans. And considering the important role they play in the environment as insect predators, finding a few of their webs up in slightly weird places isn't a bad thing.

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