Spot the Spider
“If you wish to live and thrive / Let the spider run alive.” Unfortunately, the sentiments expressed in this 19th century proverb are not universally shared in the 21st century. Perhaps our ancestors had a better grasp of how great a role spiders play when it comes to ridding a house or garden of insect pests. Here’s an opportunity to show what you know about some of the watershed’s spiders. Match up the species with its description.
1. American House Spider
2. Black Widow
3. Daring Jumping Spider
4. Forest Wolf Spider
5. Grass Spider
6. Goldenrod Spider
7. Hammock Spider
8. Jumping Lynx Spider
9. Nursery Web Spider
10. Shamrock Spider
A. This tiny spider spins irregular, sticky webs that not only catch insects, but dust as well. When the latter happens, the resulting mess is called a cobweb. You can tell the male from the female of this yellowish-brown spider by the color of their legs. The males’ legs are orange while the females’ are yellow with black bands.
B. The males of this species do not bite and its notorious reputation is based on the venomous female. Unless she is guarding an egg mass, though, she will usually attempt to escape before resorting to biting. Her web is irregular with a funnel that she can retreat into. She can be identified by her round black abdomen, which usually sports a red hourglass below.
C. This spider gets its name from its sheetlike web that is spun between two objects and may incorporate leaves that have fallen onto it. The spider clings to the web from below and drags its prey through the web. It is thought that this structure protects it from predators above.
D. This spider spins a spiraling web every night, often in the same spot, to trap insects. In the morning, its breakfast consists of last night’s web, which it eats, strand by strand.
E. The fibers of this spider’s web are not sticky, and it must rely on its speed to capture any insect that flies into a spun barrier, then falls onto a sheetlike web below that features a funnel in the center, where the spider lies in wait.
F. This spider builds its web for its young and not for its prey, which it hunts among vegetation. The female is often seen carrying her egg sac, which she holds onto with her fangs, beneath her body. She will guard her eggs until they hatch and disperse.
G. Spiderlings of this species will ride on their mother until they are mature enough to fend for themselves. It does not spin a web and lives among the litter on the ground, where it hides by day. It is often seen at night, though, because its eight silvery eyes reflect light.
H. The eyes of this spider form a hexagon. It does not spin a web, and hunts among tall grasses and low shrubs for its prey, which it frequently captures by jumping on it. The female will attach her egg sac to a plant, using her silk to tie several leaves together.
I. This spider can change its color to match the yellow flowers where its sits and waits for its prey. The female will guard her silken egg sac, but usually dies before the spiderlings hatch.
J. This species belongs to the family of spiders known to have the sharpest vision. This vision, combined with the spider’s spectacular leaps, makes the creature a superior hunter. The male also uses this leaping ability to evade the female if she approaches too aggressively during courting. It is a black spider with pale markings on its body and metallic green fangs.
1-A 1-B 3-J 4-G 5-E 6-I 7-C 8-H 9-F 10-D
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