Creating a wildlife haven one plant at a time

Monday, June 11, 2012

Eye Spy

Look what we found hiding out in the rockery. Isn't she gorgeous!


Many people run to the hills when they even hear the mention of a spider probably influenced by this popular nursery rhyme from their childhood.

Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet
Eating her curds and whey,
Along came a spider,
Who sat down beside her
And frightened Miss Muffet away

In fact they are really fascinating and beneficial creatures to have in your garden. 

We identified this as a wolf spider but it is difficult to know since she didn't stick around for long and it was hard to get a good look at her face. This is one of the few spiders that don't make a web. They live on the ground and have very keen eyesight to hunt insects.


See the round ball at the back of the spider that almost looks like a rock? That is her egg sac. Once the female has mated she lays a clutch of eggs and wraps them in a round, silk ball. She then attaches it to the underside of her abdomen. This is a unique characteristic of the Wolf Spider. Can you imagine carrying around a ball bigger than your abdomen? Oh wait, been there done that! When the spiderlings hatch they will climb on her back and hitch a ride until they have grown enough to venture out on their own. 

Take a look at the photo below.


Do you see someone blending into the tree trunk? This is a spider cleverly camouflaged. My son's keen eye spotted this guy hanging out here. I used flash on the photo below to take a better look.


This looks like a Fishing Spider (Dolomedes tenebrosus) named because some species are often found near water catching insects. However, they are more common in woodland areas. Maybe it would be more fitting to call it a tree spider as my husband likes to refer to them. They look similar to a Wolf Spider in size, shape and coloring. These spiders often hide amongst rocks during the day and hang out in trees at night waiting for prey.

Spiders are often victims of pesticides that people spray in their gardens which kills the spider's food source but also the spiders themselves.

21 comments:

  1. I know they are beneficial but oh yuck. :) You got some great closeups though.

    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. Thanks Cher! I know spiders (and snakes) are not everyone's cup of tea but I think they are really cool! On the other hand, I freak over mice!

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  2. I like seeing spiders in the garden, but not in the house. The Fishing Spider looks like a fossil.

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    1. When I first saw it I thought it looked like an octopus, LOL!

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  3. Spiders are so beneficial, and I know there are even some really pretty ones. However now that I live down South, I must say I am a lot more wary of spiders due to the poisonous ones!

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    1. Definitely have to look out for the venomous kind! Fortunately we only have two. I have found a good number of black widows in our garden but never a brown recluse. I think the black widows are stunning and very photogenic!

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  4. lots of spiders around here but they do creep me out when they are inside especially since they seem to always bite me...I had a bad infected bite from a sider last yr...but in the garden they are welcome always...cool to watch too...

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  5. I'm okay letting spiders just be for the most part, but that tends to lead to being overrun by webs inside. I thought the egg sac was a rock until you pointed out otherwise. :)

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  6. Great photos and information. Thank you.

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  7. Now these are creatures that are quite welcome in and around my garden. Great shots Karin !

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  8. I've always heard that if you've got spiders in your house/garden, you've got a healthy place. Good eye spy! It would have been very easy to just walk on by them.

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  9. I have worked hard to get over my fear of spiders as I watched and learned more about them. Now I know what dropped into my lap..literally last spring..a fishing spider.....great post...Michelle

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  10. That's interesting about the egg sac. I often find spiders in my garden carrying around egg sacs, wonder if they're any relation?

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  11. I have never been fearful of spiders for some reason and find them really interesting insects. It is good you have a spotter. But don't all boys like spiders?

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    1. My son that spotted this one will play with snakes, lizards and frogs all day long but if he sees a spider in the house he screams for me. Don't know what is up with that?!!

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  12. Spiders are really interesting. Love the egg sack protection. Seems we have lots every morning on the deck....good hunting outside the living room where the light is on during the evening.

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  13. Spiders really freak me out, however, your photos are good!

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  14. Both spiders are beauties. My daughter was bit by a wolf spider and developed a severe reaction and infection only to develop an allergic reaction to the antibiotic she was put on. I have an appreciation for them but only when they're outside. They're welcome in the garden, just not the house.

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  15. I'm a bit squeamish about spiders, but I was brave and reviewed this entire post. ;-) I like the fact that spiders eat pest bugs, but I agree with the others--I want spiders to stay outside! Great post!

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"Don't wait for someone to bring you flowers. Plant your own garden and decorate your soul"

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