OK, maybe not love of all Arachnids, since that would include ticks (yikes!), but lately, I have been photographing and researching some of the spiders that share space with me, some inside the porch, some outside, and yes, even a few “daddy-long-legs” inside the house.

I found out that true spiders belong to Order Araneae, a somewhat smaller taxonomic group in the Class Arachnida, Phylum Arthropoda. Smaller is probably not the best descriptive term because there are many, many different kinds of spiders.

Two that caught my time and attention recently are the beautiful Orchard Spider (Leucauge venusta) and the tiny Trashline Orbweaver (Allocyclosa bifurca).

The Orchard Spider, with its vibrant colors, just begged to be photographed. Two of these beauties spun webs just outside the porch door, suspended from the eaves of the house.

They are gone now, most likely victims of our gusty Florida thunderstorms. They stayed long enough for me to take several photos and watch one catch its prey with lightning speed.

A few weeks later, bead-like stings started to appear in spider webs both outside and inside my screened-in porch. I suspected that these were spider egg cases, but where were the spiders? The entire string of eggs was not more than 4 inches long. Upon closer investigation, I found a tiny (about ¼ inch) spider hanging on to the end of the string… perfectly camouflaged.

Curiosity aroused, I spent several hours browsing spider identification websites and images, until finally, there was my little visitor, aptly named the Trashline Orbweaver, or even the Garbageline Orbweaver. Great name! This spider’s line includes not only its egg sacs, but also parts and pieces of prey.

There is still one, larger spider left for me to photograph and relocate. This one is going to be a real challenge as it hunts prey rather than waiting for the hapless victim its web.

Unfortunately, my speedy friend has decided to stake out my bathroom and bedroom as its territory. So far, it has been way too quick for me, darting into tiny hiding places before either my cats or I can snag it.

I admire spiders and wish them no harm, but one in my bedroom…well, that is just a bit too intimate. The hunt continues, both the spider’s and mine! Hopefully, human guile will outwit spider instincts.

For now, the smart bet is on the spider. Lyn

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