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  #1  
Old 07-20-2009, 01:29 PM
PapSett PapSett is offline
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Spider/Web Question

I have a metal awning over my back door, and there is a pair of flood lights just to the right of it. At night, when I put my dogs out to potty, I turn the lights on, and this in turn attracts many little flying insects.

A spider has decided to take full advantage of this nightly smogasborg, and has built a web on the awning, right under the floodlights.

I don't know what kind of spider she is; she is large, body & legs about the size of a quarter or a little smaller. She is a reddish tan color. (I call her Charlotte )

I am not afraid of her, I don't want to get rid of her (I actually love watching her hunt) and don't really even care what kind she is. My question is this: Every night, she builds a large, intricate web on the awning. In the morning, I get up, and she's gone. No spider, no sign that a web was ever there. That night, there she is again, spinning her web and catching bugs. Go, Charlotte!

So where does she go during the day and what happenes to the web?
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  #2  
Old 07-20-2009, 01:53 PM
Projammer Projammer is online now
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I'll leave the identification to one of our arachnologists , but I recall hearing once that some spiders will eat their webs when they're done with them for the 'season'.

Cite. Last paragraph.
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  #3  
Old 07-20-2009, 06:47 PM
PapSett PapSett is offline
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Thank you Projammer. That was an interesting site & I appreciate you taking the time to answer.
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Old 07-20-2009, 09:28 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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While spiders do periodically eat and re-build their webs, every day seems awfully frequent. Is it possible that you just can't see the web under daytime lighting conditions?
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  #5  
Old 07-20-2009, 09:37 PM
PapSett PapSett is offline
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
While spiders do periodically eat and re-build their webs, every day seems awfully frequent. Is it possible that you just can't see the web under daytime lighting conditions?
No. The web is VERY large and normally just above eye level. It is simply not there during the day! And even more puzzling, there is really nowhere the spider can easily hide; the house is sided and there are no plants around. This same spider (or another of the same kind) did the same thing LAST summer. It's just very interesting to e. I really enjoy watching her... and appreciate her bug catching skills!
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Old 07-20-2009, 10:49 PM
arachnologus arachnologus is offline
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Originally Posted by PapSett View Post
I am not afraid of her, I don't want to get rid of her (I actually love watching her hunt) and don't really even care what kind she is. My question is this: Every night, she builds a large, intricate web on the awning. In the morning, I get up, and she's gone. No spider, no sign that a web was ever there. That night, there she is again, spinning her web and catching bugs. Go, Charlotte!

So where does she go during the day and what happenes to the web?
To answer your questions it actually is necessary to make some approach to finding out "what kind she is." The main question is, is this spider an orbweaver? You can easily answer that by identifying the type of web she makes. See my page on web types. If the web is an orb web, then the spider is an orbweaver, q.e.d.

Most orbweavers do eat the old web and make a new one out of recycled silk proteins from the old one, either every day or every second day. Some of the more "permanent" parts of the old web remain but the spiral part (easily damaged by prey, wind, predators and miscellaneous accidents) is replaced. Most common orbweavers make their new web within an hour or less after eating the old one, but very likely there are some species that wait a longer time. The time of day a new web is made, tends to be standardized within a particular species, and different in different species.

When not out in her web, an orbweaver waits in a "retreat" – a leaf or crevice of some kind lined with silk, or in some species a specially constructed silk tube with its external surface exposed but the spider hidden inside.

A new web made in the same location as the old one may have 70% or more "post-consumer content." Like many other alleged human inventions, spiders and/or insects did it first!

Last edited by arachnologus; 07-20-2009 at 10:51 PM..
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  #7  
Old 07-20-2009, 11:05 PM
PapSett PapSett is offline
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Originally Posted by arachnologus View Post
To answer your questions it actually is necessary to make some approach to finding out "what kind she is." The main question is, is this spider an orbweaver? You can easily answer that by identifying the type of web she makes. See my page on web types. If the web is an orb web, then the spider is an orbweaver, q.e.d.

Most orbweavers do eat the old web and make a new one out of recycled silk proteins from the old one, either every day or every second day. Some of the more "permanent" parts of the old web remain but the spiral part (easily damaged by prey, wind, predators and miscellaneous accidents) is replaced. Most common orbweavers make their new web within an hour or less after eating the old one, but very likely there are some species that wait a longer time. The time of day a new web is made, tends to be standardized within a particular species, and different in different species.

When not out in her web, an orbweaver waits in a "retreat" a leaf or crevice of some kind lined with silk, or in some species a specially constructed silk tube with its external surface exposed but the spider hidden inside.

A new web made in the same location as the old one may have 70% or more "post-consumer content." Like many other alleged human inventions, spiders and/or insects did it first!
It is defintely an orb web. It is generally about 18" across and vertically. The spider itself is a med. golden reddish-tan in color, round bodied; head and legs are darker. Than you for that link! Very interesting! (I am in southern Indiana, if that makes any difference.)
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  #8  
Old 07-21-2009, 06:50 AM
lynne-42 lynne-42 is offline
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Your description sounds very much like the large group of spiders found al over the world, which I know under the general name of garden orb weavers. arachnologus will know your species far better than I do. I'll take a guess at Araneus sp. - the same genus as the famous Charlotte.

Our local version, in Melbourne Australia, is Eriophora biapicata. They vary in colour and markings enormously. The young hatch in not long after the mother lays the eggs in their sac, and make their little tiny orb webs. Each day they take them down just before sunrise. Each night the make them again. By the end of summer, the orb itself can be up to a metre across, with the guy ropes and structure much larger.

I was an arachnophobe who started studying and watching spiders to overcome the fear. Well into the process, I located a garden orb weaver. The night I first saw her make her web form beginning to end is the night I changed form beign a recovering arachnophobe to a totally obsessed arachnophile. It was extraordinary - much better than the sped up version you see on TV.

I watched her each night, but could not find her in the day. She did leave a single strand across the gap and reuse that if it was still there the next night. Eventually it drove me mad that I couldn't find her, so I went out just before sunset and watched. A small piece of bark stood up, tugged at her main strand, walked out on it, and made her web. From then on she was easy to see. I usually manage to find the owners of garden orb webs these days by hunting near the end of their main strand if it survives into the day.

I have put some images of my garden orb weavers in their rest positions on my Spiderbloggers website:

http://www.lynnekelly.com.au/spiderb....php?f=9&t=124

If this URL goes funny, then just go to www.lynnekelly.com.au/spiderbloggers and to Orb Weavers, then to garden orb weavers, and the new topic - garden orb weaver photos.

They are both the same species, both female, but very different colours. This should help you recognise the shape of one resting during the day. They can often look a different colour to their version on the web! I hgad one pale one who managed to look black during the day.

Your orb weaver is probably very near and well within sight, just wonderfully camouflaged. Enjoy watching her!

Last edited by lynne-42; 07-21-2009 at 06:54 AM..
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  #9  
Old 07-21-2009, 07:07 AM
lynne-42 lynne-42 is offline
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Clearly, I didn't check my previous post properly. Sorry for the 'form' version of 'from' and for losing the autumn/fall for when the young hatch. The sign that the mother is about to lay is that she starts to leave the web over night, and not repair it properly. She will then lay somewhere nearby, but hide the sac well. I usually can't find them. She will die and the young hatch later. Like Charlotte, the film star.

There is variation between species of this very large group of garden orb weavers, so input from Americans who know your species better would be great. I'd love to hear any of your observations - being addicted to spider watching as I am.
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  #10  
Old 07-21-2009, 07:53 AM
PapSett PapSett is offline
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My girls isn't as hairy as yours, she is more smooth bodied. This is the closest picture I can find, but Charlotte's legs and head are darker, a glossy dark chocolate color.

http://entomology.unl.edu/images/spiders/araneus1.jpg

Two summers ago I had one of the huge yellow & black garden spiders, and SHE was really fun to watch! She stayed out during the daytime and I used to sit out on the deck and just watch her do her thing.

Your pictures are great Lynne-42! Very, very cool.
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  #11  
Old 07-21-2009, 08:29 AM
lynne-42 lynne-42 is offline
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This group of spiders vary greatly, but they tend to behave similarly. The shapes are usually similar. Given our garden orb weavers are a different genus and species, the fact they differ is not surprising. Love to hear more of Charlotte's exploits.

We have a version of your yellow and black spiders - Argiope sp. - ours is the St Andrew's Cross spider. They are well known around here, but I haven't had one at home, so I am jealous that you got to watch one so closely.

Much as I adore my orb weavers, I like my house spiders even more - but lots of different spiders go under that name. Do you have other spiders around? I have a very strong torch which shows them up even during the day. The more I leave the webs alone, the more spiders I get to know. Free entertainment all year round.
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  #12  
Old 07-21-2009, 01:04 PM
kayaker kayaker is online now
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The wood spider
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  #13  
Old 07-21-2009, 04:14 PM
PapSett PapSett is offline
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Originally Posted by kayaker View Post
I *love* tht video!! Freakin' awesome!

But Charlotte doesn't have stripes on her legs. Body type is correct tho.
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  #14  
Old 07-21-2009, 08:05 PM
arachnologus arachnologus is offline
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Originally Posted by lynne-42 View Post
arachnologus will know your species far better than I do. I'll take a guess at Araneus sp. - the same genus as the famous Charlotte.
Thanks for the flattering confidence, Lynne, but I actually don't know the spiders of Indiana nearly well enough to recognize a species from a verbal description. North America's a big place with different species in different parts. While many of our commonest "garden" orbweavers are various Araneus species, we do have several Argiopes and Neosconas in that niche as well. We even have Eriophora, though our species are rather small.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kayaker
The wood spider
This video, well known to all U.S. and Canadian arachnologists, is a parody of some real "spiders on drugs" research that took place in (when else? ) the 1960s. Witt and colleagues got quite a bit of National Institutes of Health grant money for developing what they tried to promote as an easily measurable guide to the effects of different psychoactive drugs. Personally, I always felt that this research told us, really, nothing about the drug and nothing about the natural behavior of the spider, so where was the point? It's comparable to a kid with a chemistry set throwing away the manual and just doing "let's see what happens when you mix this and this" experiments.
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Old 07-30-2009, 07:48 PM
lynne-42 lynne-42 is offline
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Hi PapSett,

Nikki has just put some photos of Indiana orb weavers at rest on Spiderbloggers:

http://www.lynnekelly.com.au/spiderb....php?f=9&t=124

As before: If this URL goes funny, then just go to www.lynnekelly.com.au/spiderbloggers and to Orb Weavers, then to garden orb weavers, and the new topic - garden orb weaver photos.

Hope that helps you locate your individual!

Last edited by lynne-42; 07-30-2009 at 07:49 PM..
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  #16  
Old 07-30-2009, 10:22 PM
PapSett PapSett is offline
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Thank you! What awesome pictures!

I am sorry to say that Charlotte has gone missing. She hasn't spun her night time web for over a week now. I miss watching her.:-(
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  #17  
Old 07-30-2009, 10:39 PM
Markxxx Markxxx is offline
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
While spiders do periodically eat and re-build their webs, every day seems awfully frequent. Is it possible that you just can't see the web under daytime lighting conditions?
I think this is a probable answer, I have a very large spider web in one of my windows. I live in a "garden flat" (AKA Basement) and Miss Spider catches a lot of bugs, so I'd rather leave it alone.

The other day it rained hard and the rain came in the window, which usually doesn't happen. I didn't realize till the rain stuck to the web just how HUGE this web was. It spanned the entire window all the way. You just don't notice it without the rain.
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  #18  
Old 07-31-2009, 06:09 AM
lynne-42 lynne-42 is offline
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Garden orb weavers (a vague and general common name, I know, but there are lot of genera and species) DO take down their webs every morning and then put them up again every night. Species which do that are found all over the world. Most orb weavers build webs which they repair or replace over time, but spiders such as my Eriophora most certainly build a new one each night. Amazing, isn't it? And once you locate one - late summer, early autumn/fall - then you can watch the spectacle reliably every single night. For free.

That is not to deny that light rain and mist will show up a myriad of webs you didn't know existed. And every single thread was made by a spider. Incredible creatures!

PapSett - Charlotte is almost certainly now with her egg sac. Apparently most of them sit with the egg sac for a while and then die. Plenty of people have told me they have found them in the foliage nearby. I have never managed to do so. But a few months later, little tiny versions build little tiny orb webs each night - right through winter. I watch that every year. Most don't make it to summer, but a few do and grow to full size. The individual I put on the web site on her hakea nuts had a young grow to full size in the very same spot the next year and again last year. There are some tiny ones nearby again. It is fantastic to get to know the spiders in your own garden over the long term.

Last edited by lynne-42; 07-31-2009 at 06:10 AM..
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Old 04-09-2012, 08:33 PM
gv280z gv280z is offline
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Hey I have the same thing going on at my house too. Every evening, this scary creepy spider builds his web and then it's gone in the morning before the sun even comes up. It's cool but very creepy, I'll leave him alone and let him do his thing.
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Old 04-10-2012, 09:15 AM
Jaxon Jaxon is offline
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Originally Posted by gv280z View Post
Hey I have the same thing going on at my house too. Every evening, this scary creepy spider builds his web and then it's gone in the morning before the sun even comes up. It's cool but very creepy, I'll leave him alone and let him do his thing.
Maybe the spider has gone zombie, lol, lol..
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Old 04-10-2012, 09:42 AM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is online now
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A spider has decided to take full advantage of this nightly smogasborg
Resistance is futile, fly. You will be assimilated into my stomach.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sm%c3%b6rg%c3%a5sbord

Last edited by CalMeacham; 04-10-2012 at 09:42 AM..
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  #22  
Old 04-10-2012, 10:17 AM
Tom Tildrum Tom Tildrum is offline
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Originally Posted by Projammer View Post
...I recall hearing once that some spiders will eat their webs when they're done with them for the 'season'.
Gross. Don't they know where that comes from? Besides, it's had bugs in it.
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  #23  
Old 04-18-2012, 09:34 AM
lynne-42 lynne-42 is offline
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Some spiders eat their webs every morning when they take them down. That's an awful lot of protein to just waste. Before they eat them they clean them. Others just when they do a new one. Maybe at the end of the season, although the season is usually when they die. But maybe some eat them to use the protein for egg sacs.

It is great to watch as they go around and cut out any debris, left over dinner, leaves and so on. They careful cut around the bits and let them drop to the ground. Then they eat the silk. I've seen lots of orb weavers eat the webs. I've never seen the hackle webbed weavers do it - those that make woolley webs which get full of dust, usually with a funnel entrance. But I am more than happy to hear others say they've seen it.

Spiders are endlessly fascinating!
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  #24  
Old 10-04-2012, 09:18 PM
kalisnick kalisnick is offline
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We have one that builds a very large web over our deck each evening and takes it down every morning. It's fascinating to watch!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/88039103@N03/
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