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

Summer Scenery

Hiking on the boardwalk around the edge of Reelfoot Lake is a good way to see native plant and animal life, with each season offering up its own variety of treasures.

“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery … I thought ‘this is what it is to be happy.'” ~Sylvia Plath

Patiently waiting

We spotted these two beauties sitting in their own individual webs, located near each other in a flower garden.  Black and Yellow Garden Spiders are also known as zig-zag or writing spiders because of the thick silk pattern which is found near the center of their orb-shaped webs.  The pattern is thought to deter birds from flying into the web and messing it up, as well as, perhaps, to camouflage the spider.  These colorful spiders are not harmful to humans and, in fact, are beneficial since their webs catch many flying insects which are nuisances during the late summer and early fall.

“Normal is an illusion.  What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.”  ~Charles Addams

Peeking out

Sitting snugly between the layers of a flowering plant sat a little spider, intently peeking out.  Momentarily, it ducked behind the layers and out of sight.

“Let’s all take a moment and be thankful that spiders don’t fly.”  ~Unknown

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

Living among the duckweed

Some of the flora and fauna living around the duckweed at Reelfoot National Wildlife Refuge

“It seems to me that the natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty; the greatest source of intellectual interest.  It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living.”  ~David Attenborough