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Raincatchers

Conventional wisdom has it that you’re never more than six feet away from a spider…and that is never more obvious than the morning after a really good rain.

These webs are always there, just hard to see until water-speckled. That’s a comforting thought, no?

Spiders are helpful in the garden, we know this, especially down here where the insect population ratio is roughly 10 billion of them for every one of us.. We have sort of a detente with spiders here at the homestead…they don’t come in the house, we don’t smash them to indistinguishable bits whilst screaming for a SWAT team. Stay in the garden, spider friends, we’ll take care of any foolish insects that should cross our threshhold.

Some of the usual suspects are off to a slow start this year, most notably the Argiopes who have just hatched out in the past few weeks and are taking up residence in the honeysuckle.

They will migrate over to the butterfly-attracting plants when they girth up a bit, where, yes, they will grow large enough to capture and eat my butterflies. Digital evidence with red-eye reduction* from last year:

This incident led to my periodic patrol of the lantana bushes with the pool skimmer. Anything big enough to nosh on a butterfly was summarily scooped up and tossed over the back fence. Butterflies are for ME, spiders, not for YOU.

We haven’t had a Golden Silk spider actually *in* our yard yet, this is the first one:

And seeing as how he will eventually be the size of a small banana and look like this…

He won’t be residing there much longer. *wiggins*

The Spiny Orbweavers have been the most active thusfar, with multiple webs inside the pool enclosure:

Which again we tolerate as long as they do not impinge on our personal space…these guys are POINTY:

The Orchard Orbweavers guest with us in large numbers:

They string webs between most of the butterfly plants out back, but do not grow large enough to pose a threat to them. And their web architecture is so very…varied. Sometimes they spin the perfect, textbook spiderweb:

And sometimes they treat themselves to something a little more architectural:

Or, er, abstract:

By far the most common web-slinger in the backyard is the unoriginally-named Garden Orbweaver.

They typically put up their webs at dusk and take them down each morning, but it must’ve been a bit too soggy overnight to get much done, as they’re literally everywhere.

And sometimes still at home:

Though this guy is literally about the size of a raindrop.

But you can’t really hold it against them when they leave such beautiful constructs behind to catch the rain:

*Guess that movie.

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