Early Winter

The photos on this page were taken on December 11 following an early season snowstorm. It doesn’t typically snow in central North Carolina until January or February. This storm came early and left over a foot of snow in some areas. The spider in the photos is a marbled orb weaver (Araneus marmoreus). Spiders can and do produce a type of antifreeze and they can survive cold while living in the leaf liter, crevices in trees or rocks, or evenRead more

Bluebird Update 7/8/14

One nest has fledged all their bluebirds while two nests are still in the early stages, one contains eggs, the other four fresh nestlings. The Cow Pasture bluebirds have flown their coop. Upon inspection, the nest box was empty except for hundreds, no thousands, of very tiny spiders. At first sight I thought the minute creatures were mites, maybe even ticks. I thought that perhaps their parents had fed off the birds in the nest, laid eggs and now theRead more

The End of the Line

Each fall morning as we leave our house to drive to school and the Museum, my daughter pushes me out of the door first. Somewhere along the line she has acquired a fear of spiders and a distinct aversion to their webs (this is very common aversion). In the fall there’s lots of spider webs about, several on my back porch. If I go out the door first my passage tends to clear a path for her, I wipe outRead more

Paralyzed spiders for my babies, please!

You have no doubt seen the object, or one like it, in the photo at right. It’s an Organ Pipe Mud Dauber’s nest. One individual constructed the “pipes” in the photo, a female wasp. The male may be nearby to guard the nest but doesn’t participate in its construction. Each pipe may have anywhere from several to a dozen cells within. The cells are stocked with spiders which the female paralyzes with venom from her stinger. Once stocked with spiders,Read more

More things to look for

While walking up the boardwalk from Explore the Wild I noticed a large jumping spider perched in the middle of the walkway. The spider was black with bold white markings. As the spider turned to face me, I noticed green┬áchelicerae, or jaws. If you’ve never had a close look at a jumping spider I urge you to do so, they can be quite colorful. When I first saw this spider I thought that it was a Bold Jumping Spider (PhidippusRead more