Posts Tagged ‘egg sac’

Ponytail Plant

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I move my few houseplants outside in the summer, and place them at the base of a sweet gum tree. The ponytail plant (which is around 40 years old) is quite heavy and is at least four feet tall. There’s been more activity around it this summer than usual.

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A leaf-footed bug’s found plenty of hiding places.

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A daddy-longlegs stayed close for some reason,

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and a young praying mantis didn’t like my attention.

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And then this “showed up.” I walk a morning loop around our backyard, looking for spider webs to photograph, and have found several of these spider egg sacs. In all my years and years of hiking and camping, I’ve never seen one until this summer. So far I’ve found eight or nine of them.

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My oldest son told me they’re spider egg sacs. They’re quite a curiosity. I don’t know if there’s one egg in each or more than one. The spider has shed its skin and isn’t around.

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I just went out one last time to get pictures as close as I could. The egg sacs appear to be different now. The third one down from the top looks like the spider might be breaking out of the egg sac.

Grass Spiders

October 2, 2015

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 For some reason, it surprised me to find grass spider webs this late in the season.

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I couldn’t find the entry tunnel for this one.

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I couldn’t see the spider until

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it came to the mouth of the tunnel.

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Their eggs overwinter in an egg sac, which is usually outside the web, sometimes under the bark of a nearby tree. The spiderlings disperse in the spring and build small webs apart from each other.

They are a quick-running spider and depend on speed to catch their prey.

I was also intrigued with the reflections on the dense dew drop covering the webs.

Looks Uncomfortable

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I used to like the flower called faerie wand.

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Not any more.  It has underground runners that have taken over almost 3/4 of my butterfly garden. Armed with my poacher’s spade, I attacked the unwanted patch last night.

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The white of the spider’s egg sac caught my attention.

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That sure looks like an uncomfortable way to spend the day.

The spiderlings will hatch and remain in the cocoon until they are able to run about.

 

 

Garden Spider

The evening sun backlit this garden spider’s web.

This is the first summer in several years that a garden spider hasn’t built a web just outside my picture window. A predator might have gotten in the egg case during the winter.

I call them “garden spiders.” Technically, they go by the name black-and-yellow argiope. This one is a female. They have a body up to 1 1/8-inch long. The male’s body only reaches 3/8-inch.

Look at the size of her abdomen.

Her appearance changed two days later …

                                                                                                                                  

Compare the proportions of her abdomen before and after laying her eggs.

Next was finding her egg case.  The ones in the past with webs near picture window had their egg case fastened to the end of the web and against the house.

It’s a jungle in my sedum patch, and so far I haven’t been able to find the egg case. I don’t want to disturb her. She’s in the near the upper middle part of the picture where the brown leaf is.

This picture was taken last year.  She laid her eggs during the night, so I didn’t get to see how she made that “vessel.”

Wikipedia says the female lays her eggs on a sheet of silky material. She lays down another sheet of silk and then a sheet of protective brown silk.  Next she uses her legs to form the silk into a ball with an up-turned neck. The egg sacs can be up to 1 inch in diameter and have up to 1,000 eggs.

Wolf Spider

I usually don’t see wolf spiders unless I’m committing neatness in the yard. This morning I was moving rocks. The first flat rock I lifted had 100’s of ants and eggs under it. That created pandemonium. The next few rocks also had ants. Then the next rock was flat on the ground. This disturbed a few dried leaves, and this wolf spider ran out and stopped. Usually they don’t pose like this. It must have wanted blog notoriety?

Wolf spiders don’t spin a web, and they roam around at night hunting for food. Most live in burrows in the ground. The female  lays her eggs and wraps them in a large ball web. The ball with this one was roughly 1/2 inch long.  Then she attaches it to her spinnerets and drags it around with her until the eggs hatch about a week later.   Now it gets even more interesting: the spiderlings hatch and climb up her legs and onto her back. She carries dozens of them around on her until they’re old enough to feed themselves. I’ve yet to see one carrying its young.

I searched and searched online to find out how she feeds the young. There are more than 2,000 species of wolf spiders. I found where some don’t feed their young, some feed a liquid and other spiderlings eat their egg yolk. Adults feed on insects, other spiders and similar prey.

Adults are usually patterned with a mixture of black, gray and brown. Like other spiders, they have 8 eyes, 2 body parts (cephalothorax and abdomen), and fang-like mouth parts called chelicerae. These are used to hold prey, inject venom and to eat.

Earlier this spring I removed a large patch of lemon thyme and the stones I had underneath the plants. This uncovered ants, snails, leeches, caterpillars, roly polys and lots of spiders. The picture below is one of the wolf spiders I uncovered.

I know better than to have expectations when it comes to finding specific things in nature, like a female wolf spider carrying her young. Someday it might happen.