New backyard spider: Cyrtophora citricola

New backyard spider: <em>Cyrtophora citricola</em>
Gardeners in south Florida are the inverse of the typical beachgoer: instead of looking forward to a sunny day for reading, we look forward to a cloudy morning for weeding! August days, even in the morning, can be brutal. Earlier this week my weather station reported a heat index of 110°F! So when we get ...

New photos: Spiny-backed orbweaver

New photos: Spiny-backed orbweaver
Tooling around the house in preparation for Halloween, I found this little lady near the ficus that our neighbor planted to mark the property line: She’s a spiny-backed orbweaver, Gasteracantha cancriformis. I wrote about this species last year around this time (spiders are most numerous and visible in the fall), but I finally got a ...

Leetle bitty spiders, Part 5

Leetle bitty spiders, Part 5
Menemerus bivittatus, also known as the Gray Wall Jumper, is a pantropical species of jumping spider that occurs in four of the southern United States: Florida, Louisiana, Texas, and California (here’s an image from Los Angeles that was posted to bugguide a couple of years ago). It’s unclear (to me at least), why it has ...

Leetle bitty spiders? Nunh-uh! Argiope species in Florida yards

Leetle bitty spiders? Nunh-uh! Argiope species in Florida yards
I never finished the miniseries I had started last December on spiders found in and around my yard; here is the fourth installment, starring two species of orbweaver that are commonly encountered in gardens both in Florida and elsewhere. They are so common, in fact, that they have common names, unlike the vast majority of ...

Leetle bitty spiders, part 3: Crab spider sp.

Leetle bitty spiders, part 3: Crab spider sp.
I’m outside every chance I get, trying to investigate how my back yard functions. I check the light conditions at various times of day; I see who is visiting what plant and when (and if possible, why); and every now and then I get a picture that might serve as the basis of an ID, ...

Leetle bitty spiders, part 2: Selenops sp.

Leetle bitty spiders, part 2: Selenops sp.
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know by now that I love my pool fence. I’ve gotten more good bugs on my pool fence than I have from any other single source on the homestead. But every now and then I have to venture inside the fence for some reason or other, ...

Leetle bitty spiders, part 1: Allocylosa bifurca 4

Leetle bitty spiders, part 1: Allocylosa bifurca
I’ve seen estimates of spider density (the number of spiders in a given area) that  range from 11,000 spiders per acre (in woodlands) to over 1 million (some estimates go as high as 2.5 million) per acre in a grassy field. Now that’s  a lot of spiders! Here at the homestead, I don’t think we have ...

Florida spider: Gasteracantha cancriformis 27

Florida spider: Gasteracantha cancriformis
One of the most familiar spiders to Florida residents is the spiny orb weaver, Gasteracantha cancriformis. You’ll see people flailing their arms wildly after running into their webs all the time. This actually happened a lot at our old house, because these little guys make fairly large webs, and they loved to decorate our front ...