I cherish a memory of walking through the Kansas woodlands with Professor Henry Fitch. He carried a big switch that he waved constantly, breaking down the spider webs in his path.
In autumn the lady spiders are mature and spread their webs for a final supper before winter. Here around my yard in Athens, Georgia, I see the little “bowl and doily” spider webs in the tall, dewy grass. I bump into the networks of the little spiny-backed spiders. And think about Henry Fitch.
This year Cellar Spiders have invaded my house. Friendly little long-legged girls in careless webs; they make their living on little pests. One lives above my kitchen sink; I call her “Emma.” I find her there each morning when I turn on the lights. Too bright for Emma; she soon retreats to a refuge behind the cabinet.
Georgia has a variety of spiders. L. L. Gaddy’s nice little book, “Spiders of the Carolinas,” serves us quite well here. We don’t have the big scary (and harmless) tarantulas I remember from my Texas childhood, but we do have similar kinds. Most of ours are secretive. Young males are spied when they wander about.
Down below the fall line near the coast, the big banana spiders thrive in Georgia. Their enormous six-foot webs you want to avoid. These spiders seem to be expanding their range. I’ve seen them in the Beaumont area of Texas. Global warming?
I don’t recall walking through spider webs as a child in south Texas. Not enough trees, perhaps? In the thorny brush we had those big golden Argiope that we kids call “writing spiders.” Did one of them write your name in her web? Not likely. John Jackson has a nice little book, “A Field Guide to Spiders and Scorpions of Texas.”
Scorpions? That’s another story.
Dac Crossley. September 16, 2016
With a nod to Father Miguel Hidalgo who, on this date in 1810, issued his grito de Dolores, calling for the end of Spanish rule in Mexico.
“The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in Kings’ palaces.” – Proverbs 12: 28