The Writing Spider

There seem to be a number of Black and Yellow Garden Spiders making their home among the vegetation around the boardwalk at the lake. These large-orb spiders are also known as the “Writing Spider”, “Zig-Zag Spider” or “Zipper Spider” because of the heavy white silk decorations which are spun into the center of their elaborate webs. The decorations resemble writing, and differ from web to web.

One of the webs caught my attention because of the way the spider was vibrating it back and forth. This is called “web flexing” and is thought to be a defense from predators or a way to entangle prey. Whatever the reason, the action is enough to make one dizzy if watched for very long.

“Your life is your story. Write well. Edit often.”  ~Susan Statham

Spiders

The black and yellow garden spider is an orb spider that is often seen in the late summer. These brightly colored spiders build wheel-shaped webs with a zig-zag of thicker silk in the center. There, they patiently await their prey, which is then injected with venom and wrapped in a cocoon of silk for a future meal.

These two orb weavers had webs secured up high between two trees where they patiently laid in wait.

This funnel-web spider built a sheet-like web and positioned itself right outside of its burrow to await its next meal.

Though technically not a spider, but an arachnid, this harvestmen or “daddy longlegs” and his shadow were crawling along on a fallen tree in the woods, probably scavenging for food. Harvestmen are most often seen in the late summer and early fall around harvest time, thus their name. This one seems to be missing some legs which, unfortunately, will not grow back.

“Will you walk into my parlour? Said the spider to a fly: ‘Tis the prettiest little parlour That ever you did spy.” ~Mary Howitt

Black and Yellow Garden Spider

One of the spiders that I have seen frequently this summer and fall is the female Black and Yellow Garden Spider.  She is conspicuous because of her large size and bright color pattern.  Her orb web is also large in size, sometimes reaching up to two feet.  The web is normally decorated with a white zigzag band of silk near the center where the female can often be seen waiting patiently for or enjoying her prey.

“The spider’s touch, how exquisitely fine!
Feels at each thread, and lives along the line.”
~  Alexander Pope

Common Garden Spiders

Two Black and Yellow Garden Spiders standing guard over a swampy area of Reelfoot Lake

“Give us clear vision that we may know where to stand and what to stand for – because unless we stand for something, we shall fall for anything.”  ~Peter Marshall

Spider web

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“Will you walk into my parlor?” said the spider to the fly;
“‘Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you did spy.
The way into my parlor is up a winding stair,
And I have many pretty things to show when you are there.”  ~Mary Howitt