Thursday, June 21, 2012

California Spiders

On this longest day of the year, I'm looking for biodiversity.
American house spider
Rachel Carson wrote in Silent Spring that in a healthy environment there should be at least one spider within 3 feet of you at all times. Spiders are the Earth’s dominant predators. On any day I can surprise myself with the variety of spiders I can find.

Look for the fragile webbing strung under this dead flower.

A small American house spider (Achaearanea tepidariorum) has constructed a web beneath a spent bird-of-paradise (Strelitzia reginae) bloom.
While a trashweb spider (Cyclosa turbinata) may stay hidden, but it’s web is purposefully visible stretched between the branches of a dwarf lime tree. Several generations of this spider’s great grandmothers have called this tiny tree home. The collection of debris in the center is wrapped with silk that reflects ultraviolet light waves and is therefore believed to attract flying insects. This spider truly lures in its prey.

These spiders are important predators eating insects, providing spider web that is used by many birds in constructing nests, and the spiders are in turn eaten by larger animals.  If you have spiders you are on your way to healthy habitat.

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