This little friend turned up on my front porch a couple weeks ago, and it really put my camera to the test because when I call it little I mean tiny! But look at the coloration on it - what a beautiful creature! Leucage venusta is an orb weaver, and given my Google Images research, mine is a youngin so it should grow larger with time. The fourth photo was taken one week after the first three photos and I think perceptible growth can be seen even in that time.
Well, let's start the new year the same as we ended the old!
Some prefacing information: I've heard that one should set water out for at least 24 hours to let the chlorine dissipate out before watering plants. This presumes there is chlorine in the tap water, which is not always true, but it's easy to do and possibly helpful so I do it.
This morning, I was greeted by a bold jumping spider (Phidippus audax) floating in my watering can full of de-gassed water. He did not appear to be able to get back out. I took a couple photos, rescued him with a screwdriver, and put him on my Dischidia platyphylla to dry off and get his bearings. I do have a limit to how many spider friends can stay indoors with me, and already removed another jumping spider who got a little too adventurous to the outdoors, but since this little fellow was soaked and it is presently -6°F or -21°C, he would not have survived. So he'll join Audrey's territory and I'll hope they get along.
I know he isn't Audrey because his spot coloration is different (hers is a light yellowish tan, his is a saturated orange), and he has bushier eyebrows - thus leading me to suspect he's a he. I have christened him Brooks, due to his rather wet arrival.
Happy holidays! Here to celebrate with me is my new spider friend, Audrey. She's a bold jumping spider (Phidippus audax). She must have hitched a ride indoors with me when I relocated all my plants in for the winter, but she's preferred to maintain a very low profile and only popped out recently (and only for two days). There's a whole small ecosystem going on with my outdoor/indoor plants - there are ants, and beetles, and mites, and spiders... I could nuke them all with neem oil or diatomaceous earth, but as long as they aren't harming me or causing significant damage to my plants, I like being able to support the local fauna and they in turn pollinate my plants or like Audrey keep them safe from pest species. I watched her hunt for prey on at least ten different plants, but due to the way in which I've set up my collection, I couldn't get clear photos on her on most of them. The best photos of Audrey are of her posing atop my Matucana madisoniorum which serendipitously was in bloom at the time! I also have a couple okay photos of her on my Anacampseros rufescens.
Lorraine is an adult female Neoscona crucifera spider who has made a number of webs on my front porch this fall. I had noticed her presence a few times in the evenings as she hunted around the outside of my living room window, but we really made each other's acquaintance when she tested out a new web location a few days ago strung up between a potted plant and my front storm door; after I damaged it going out of my door in the morning and then again a second time coming back in later that evening, she took stock of her options and has since restrung her web off my porch railing and my hanging sweet potato vine. I'm interested to see if I'll be able to spot Lorraine's egg sac if/when she lays it since I'm looking forward to trying to witness her offspring hatch next spring.
This attractive fellow wasn't too pleased with being photographed, but finally held still long enough to snap a clear shot. I'm a big fan of the various spiders that make their homes in my garden since they eat harmful insects like mosquitoes. Plus, look at that patterning!