This guy (a garden orb-weaver, if Greg isn't mistaken) displays one of the classic resting/hunting poses within a beautiful spiral web:

[top/rear of white and gray orb-weaver spider in spiral web]

This was in early October 2002, and his (her?) leg-span was close to an inch when fully stretched out.


Two years later, on 8 September 2004, another, somewhat larger orb-weaver showed up. This one, with a body about half an inch wide and full leg-span of maybe an inch and a half, built an 18"-diameter, 80-turn spiral web directly across the sidewalk adjacent to Greg's domicile—at just about face-height—and did so for at least two nights in a row. Thereafter he shifted it about six feet closer to the house (over the lawn) and continued building it at dusk every night for about a week. (Greg fed him a couple of large bugs, which he seemed to enjoy...) Every morning he took it down again and crawled back to the same curled-up leaf, about 10 feet off the ground, to sleep (or whatever spiders do when they rest).

[web and bottom of 2nd spider]

[top of 2nd spider]

Hip To Be Square

This guy showed up on the fence in Greg's back yard in October 2006. He didn't do very much, but he had a cool shape:

[side view of 3rd spider, hanging from thread on fence] [top view of 3rd spider, on fence]

[natural-light closeup of 3rd spider]

Further Ambitions

A year later, another talented orb-weaver appeared in the back yard; his (her?) home was an ivy leaf on a fence post:

[ivy-leaf home of 4th spider]

[web and bottom of 4th spider]

[top of 4th spider in previous night's web]

His webs were about 60 turns each, and his body was a bit skinnier, but the horizontal extent of both web and spider were comparable to the orange 2004 one. Note that this set of photos was taken about three weeks earlier in the season (16-18 August 2007); the little dude had grown visibly (as had his webs) by the end of the month. Unfortunately, he disappeared the evening of 30 August, possibly snagged by one of the pups and carried off into the bushes or ivy somewhere.

But wait! The story doesn't end there after all. A month later Greg rediscovered him (almost certainly the same one, though nearly unrecognizably fat) low in the bushes about two meters away:

[4th spider a month and a half later]

Even better, a week after that Greg came across two of his (or her) little buddies:

[5th spider, with polkadots]

Cool polka dots, eh? In fact, he was actually one of five or six, all about the same size and all of which chose the same structure on which to anchor their webs. (The others didn't have polka dots, though.)

And check out the gams on this speedster:

[6th spider on old cushion]

...or this one, moseying across the ceiling in February 2008:

[7th spider on ceiling]

Here's another, found crawling up the kitchen wall in October 2008. It's hard to tell from this angle, but it is the same type of spider, and it's about 50% bigger than the other two:

[closeup of 8th spider on concrete]

Apparently all of them are members of a Mediterranean species known as zoropsis spinimana, which is currently spreading through northern California. Reportedly they're good-natured, like indoor living, and love to eat the bugs that eat kitchen crumbs. Ay carumba! (So to speak.) Gotta love those beady little eyeballs, too.

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Last updated 27 October 2008. Copyright © 2002-2008 Greg Roelofs, you betcha.