An Awesome Picture of Our Pet Spider

And because I know some of you are creeped out by spiders, I’m putting it behind the cut (for those of you on the RSS feed, uh, sorry):

Ain’t she (or he, it’s not like I know) a beauty? This one’s been hanging out on our front porch for the last month, catching all manner of flying insect, which we’re happy about. I don’t suspect it’s long for the world now that fall is here and the temperatures are dropping, but until then we’re happy to have it hanging out. Watching it do its thing is better than the Nature Channel.

Krissy has already noted that if it gets it into its arachnid head to try to come inside once it gets cold it’s going to wish it stayed outside, but I don’t think it’ll do that. It’s too big to slip under the door in any event.

Also, if anyone knows what type of spider this is, please tell me. I’m interested in knowing.

69 thoughts on “An Awesome Picture of Our Pet Spider

  1. Cool! We’ve been raising Monarch caterpillars and releasing them. I also have a ton of Praying Mantis. It’s cool when they hang out in a window and cast a HUGE shadow into the house.

  2. Also, I am terrified of spiders but apparently lose all fear of them if I’m looking at them through a camera lens. And I never really get tired of looking at close-up photography of them.

  3. I am not an arachnologist, but my best guess would be that this guy (I have no idea about the gender either) is probably a Barn Orb Weaver. (A. Cavaticus)

    They are large and often vibrantly-colored (the stripes on its legs are consistent with the usual coloring) spiders who construct large webs (often near human structures, thus the name) and they are common enough in Ohio. Charlotte (of Charlotte’s Web) was likely meant to be one.

    Spiders don’t really “come in from the cold,” as our intuition would suggest. Outdoor spiders usually stay outdoors, and any indoor spiders were most likely born there. Thanks to evolution, indoor and outdoor varieties have very different needs and usually cannot survive in each others’ environments.

    That’s really a very nice picture. I am an arachnophobe, but that’s okay. Not only is it my own fault for clicking, but I’ve been working on dealing with it most of my adult life (thus why I do a lot of reading on spiders.) It doesn’t really go away, but you learn to tolerate it.

  4. evidently I am late to the party, but yes, she is a “orb weaver” and most likely a she (females tend to be much larger ) you could name her Charlotte Jr. (Charlotte was also an orb weaver)

  5. heh.. I’m one of those on the RSS feed…
    Have to admit, I did wince a bit. But, of course, afterward looked the spider up and learned quite a bit. Great picture.

  6. @Robert Richter…
    I’m the same way. I used to really be afraid of spiders. Especially the brown recluse, which we have in abundance here in OK. If I found one crawling the wall in my bedroom, I wouldn’t be able to sleep for a week!

    But I’d have to say that learning about all the spiders in my particular part of the country has helped me overcome most of the fear. Most of them are harmless…and for the ones that are not.. well, I have a first aid kit! :)

  7. We have a similar spider here in Virginia but it is a beautiful yellow and black. I am not a spider fan but spiders who stay in webs do not bother me much and are pretty interesting to watch.

    On the other hand, the huge wolf spiders (Araneae Lycosidae) that keep trying to move into my house freak me out so bad I start shaking at the sight of one. (Harmless or not they are huge and in my house!)

  8. @Beau

    The most important thing I’ve learned from spider research is the caveat that I’m not an arachnologist. Spiders are more varied than most people imagine, and can be very hard to properly identify. That said, the spiders I see most often are very likely the (probably harmless but much-mythologized) hobo spider and the two varieties of Black Widow (there are three) that live around here.

    The fact that they don’t see me as worth biting (I’m not food and I’m not a threat within their scope of comprehension) and really only bite humans when crushed has considerably eased my mind, though.

  9. @Mulluane

    Oh, I know that feeling. And wolf spiders may not be dangerous, but the bites still hurt! On top of that, they seem to be more feisty than the venomous ones. Also, like you said: In the house! And huge and hairy. My cat loves ‘em, though.

  10. Not sure what kind it is, but given the size, I’m pretty sure it’s female. Boy spiders tend to be on the shrimpy side.

  11. I am disappointed that you got swamped with useful and relevant information before I could inform you that this is commonly called the “face eating spider,” known for its ability to squeeze under doors in the middle of the night and seek out sleeping humans to predate upon.

  12. My wife and I stayed in a lake house in Georgia last month for our honeymoon that had a screened-in porch. Apparently barn spiders love those sorts of place: we had about half a dozen of them with huge webs all around the outside of the porch. Was fascinating watching them all come out as the sun set.

  13. Nice picture. I agree it looks like it may be some variety of barn orb weaver. We get “bold jumping spiders” that like to come in the house out here. They’re black with a single white spot on their backs. Fortunately, neither of us are arachnophobes. The coolest fall arthropods in northern CA, though, are the praying mantises. They’re quite large by now, and give the cats conniptions when they come in the house.

  14. She’s lovely! At least, I think it’s a she – doesn’t look like it has palps; if you look at the google images link in the posts above, the first pic is female, the second is male. Mind you, all arachnids, like all cats and boats, default to “she” in my mind …

  15. She is generally known as a Garden or Cross spider (the pattern on her back forms a cross). I’d say they are one of the most common spiders here in Newfoundland, and I’ve seen them in San Diego as well, so they have a huge range. She’ll lay her eggs outside in a silken sack tucked near her web. They are something to see when they hatch. I love the cluster of babies that spread out and re coalesce when you touch them, but they give arachnophobes the willies.

  16. Oh, I love spiders! The black and yellow orb weaver another commenter mentioned is the lovely golden orb weaver – they spin the most beautiful web. I loved that Peacock spider video! So cute, jumping spiders, with their little eyes. I have a large false black widow aka Brown Cupboard Spider, that lives right behind the headboard of the bed here and comes out and looks very menacing. I’ll throw her cockroaches if I can, I’m always amused to watch that…

  17. You should probably read that link on Orb Weaver’s where it says “…the fright of this spider crawling over one’s face can be terrifying and may cause a heart attack, particularly to the susceptible over 40 year olds.”

    Think about that next time you step outside at night, or when you go to sleep tonight…

  18. Slightly off topic but an amusing story (I think).

    My wife and I went zip lining yesterday for our anniversary, despite the fact that I’m afraid of heights.

    I was the first person to cross one line. Just after I arrived on the platform the guide leading us found a spider on his chest, picked it up, and dropped it on the tree right next to me.

    As an arachnophobe I was now faced with Hobson’s Choice: continue standing next to a spider or throw myself off the 30-foot high platform?

  19. House spiders are a different bunch of species from outdoor spiders… but, to me, that just raises the question of where house spiders lived before there were houses, or if they existed then. Did they co-evolve with humans, and become specialized to our dwellings as we developed them? Did they live in caves or something before?

  20. Weird. On my bike ride to work today I passed a huge spider on its web near a bridge overlooking a creek under the shadow of the DC beltway. As I toiled up a hill nearby, my mind wandered to “That would be a cool picture in Whatever…I wonder if he’d ever post a spider….the spider is beautiful to some, disgusting to others….I wonder why spiders evoke such different reactions…I have to safely pass that pedestrian now…etc.”

  21. We have a pair of garden spiders that made a home in our kitchen window between the screen and the glass this spring. They’ve been there all summer and we’ve been able to watch them eat and grow. It’s been fun and educational for us and for my girls (2 and 4), and I’ll be sad to see our “pets” disappear once the New York winter settles in.

  22. @Erica “bold jumping spiders” black, white spot. That’s what I, here in Ohio, USA know as a wolf spider. Kind of cute, IMO, not so much to my sister.
    Those wolf spiders mentioned above bring to mind something from a Pratchett book: There are no snakes here, the spiders got them all.

    Because of where that yellow and black garden spider put her web I’d put up a sign for the mailman: Beware of spider web. I mean, come on spider, two feet out in front of the mailbox right at the guy’s face level?

  23. @Beej – I expect you jumped! Great photo :). We have smaller orb spiders in our gardens at present, in the UK – they’re an autumn thing. Also the male house spider, and the male Giant house spider, are prowling around looking for mates… As I am an ex-arachnophobe, they get put out if they’re lucky, jumped on if they’re not.

  24. Beautiful shot of a really nice spider. We’ve had some big ones at the corner of the garage door at times that I’ve taken shots of. Hard to get the depth of field right to keep the whole critter in sharp focus. This shot looks great all around though. One interesting behavior I noticed with some of ours was that after a few shots they’d pump their legs to wobble the web (and themselves at the center) back and forth. I’m assuming this is a last ditch attempt to warn off the threat that they perceive the camera lens to be.

  25. She is a beauty, John.

    I think my wife will let ours live as long as it stays up her cozy corner. My son has arachnophobia, but I think I’m winning him over in the ‘let things be’ category. So far so good.

  26. One of my brothers was afraid of spiders when he was a kid.

    The family was camping one time back in my pre-teen days. Most of the family slept in the big tent, but Dave, the arachnophobic brother, had his own pup tent to sleep in. One fine cool morning, I and the other two brothers woke up and came out of the big tent to find Dave had left the end of his pup tent open, with his sleeping face sticking slightly out of the open end.

    As it happened, besides the usual trees and plants and dirt, the campgrounds had a lot of “daddy long-legs” spiders roaming around. Weird-looking, but harmless.

    We all looked at Dave. We looked at the daddy long-legs roaming around. We looked at Dave. We looked at the spiders. We looked at each other. Then we gathered up about a dozen of the daddy long-legs and gently dropped them on Dave’s sleeping face.

    It was hilarious. Being chased around the campground by a screaming brother with a hatchet in his hand, not so much.

  27. We had a gorgeous garden spider that was huge. Made a web between two rose bushes. It never had to actually catch anything because my hubby would put dead flies in the web and Spidey would run up and take care of it.

    Eventually, it had a backlog of wrapped up food in the web! :D

    We were sad when he finally died…hubby buried him!

  28. Used to find hundreds of these at my grandfather’s farm, but haven’t really seen many since I moved to South Carolina (grandfather’s farm was in Vermont). This summer we’ve been enjoying a number of Writing Spiders (Argiope aurantia) in our garden. I know the big spiders creep some folks out, but I always find them lovely and fascinating. Thanks for sharing the awesome photo. http://i850.photobucket.com/albums/ab65/applefeet_photos/null_zps3fd7092c.jpg

  29. I also fall into the categoy of arachnophobe and curse my curiosity for making me click on the link to see the picture. Generally me and spiders can live in a state of ceasefire if I don’t see them or they are safely outside and a few feet away from me.

    I will admit though, as terrified of the 8-legged monstrosities as I am, that one of yours looks pretty darn cool. I’m from Saskatchewan and I would say aside from the regular brand of creepy (funnel web, fishing, mimic) we have a whole differnt category of super creepy with wolf spiders and jumping spiders. These things should not be allowed to get that huge or jump that far…

  30. My son has a pair of beautiful Tarantellas, A rosy hair (with pink highlights) and a Cobalt Blue (with bright blue markings). They are not much as pets but are lovely to look at.

    OTOH, last fall one of the wild spiders gave birth in my closet. The tiny babies fanned out into my shirts. The way I found out was when I started getting nasty bites across my stomach and back. Didn’t feel the bite but they raise painful welts.

  31. An off topic sobbing about my stupidity vis an event that happened at dark thirty oh kill me before I was awake thing.
    Because I hope to remember this.
    When something won’t turn on the trouble shooting path should start with what is easiest to fix.
    1)Is it plugged in? Solution: Plug it in.
    2)Is a cat blocking the signal from the remote control to it? Sol’n: pet the cat.
    3)Check the batteries.
    4)Is the outlet powered. Sol’n: change the fuse/reset the breaker and so on.

    Okay, Shawn you idiot, the power was out that’s why you couldn’t make the clock radio shut up at who what when why oh god it’s dark out when the electric came back on.
    Shawn? Your UPS went dead, and so everything plugged into was dead. Now, Shawn, remember that you have to hold down the power button on your UPS for fifteen seconds to get it to turn on.

    Happily, I did clean me laptop’s radiator. It’s running about ten degrees centigrade cooler now. Idiocy for the win.

  32. Further note: Cleaning this laptops radiator requires heat sink goo because it is impossible to get to the radiator without taking the heat sink of off of the CPU and GPU.

  33. I’ve always liked spiders, even though some species slightly creep me out.

    However, our office currently hosts one of my favourites: a little Zebra Spider (known as the Harlequin Spider hereabouts). I am not feeling unmanly at all to admit that these are just plain cute critters.

  34. She’s really cute! We had a different orb weaver species that created her web across our back door’s frame, so we had to start using the front door only (we didn’t want to make her leave!). They reconstruct the web daily, eating the old one and spinning a new one. We got to watch her grow, noting the moulted exoskeletons every so often. Eventually, our girl hatched a flock of younglings, one of which took over a corner of the door frame. She disappeared soon after, and we got to watch her offspring grow up in her place.

  35. I’m going to have to get a proper camera. I’ve been trying for ages to shoot the spiders on our front stoop, but they seem to be far too reflective a species for a dinky cameraphone. :-( Gorgeous specimen — and think of all the mosquitoes she’s keeping away from you.

  36. Just wanted to say thanks for putting the pic behind the cut. Seriously. ( I was crying trying to hang washing on a spider infested line a few weeks ago. Phobias ain’t fun and I really appreciate your consideration.

  37. Oh, Mart, the Zebra spiders ARE cute!

    I popped in because I just realized we have a very large specimen of this spider on our back porch. I had been trying to take a look at her all week and finally managed to sneak up on her today and take one. She’s beautiful.

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