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The very small, very fierce American house spider. What she's wrapping up is another spider ... a little wolf spider, I think. The focus on the last three photos is soft, but they show her even smaller mate looking on across the web.
Related spottings from my collection (same species, different individual):
December 2013 update:
Here's what happened to this spider. She had a hard time. She kept catching things that were too heavy, other spiders and beetles, and they often broke through the web and fell to the ground below. But, she also caught some other things she could eat. I passed by the web every day and checked on her, having met the species earlier in the year. Tough little creatures.
Anyway, she had built her web in an unfortunate location. In the fourth photo of this spotting, you can see a black structure to the left ... it's a standing ashtray. Still, nobody disturbed the web for a long time. I never did decide whether the folks who emptied the ashtray took special care not to mess her up, or whether it was just luck. Time passed and she made two egg sacs.
Then, one afternoon the ashtray had been moved. The web was destroyed, hanging in sticky broken strands on the brick wall, with the two egg sacs still attached and the spider alive. I thought, what a terrible image to take home tonight, this tiny spider and her egg sacs hopelessly stranded against the wall. I went back to my desk and, you know, typed on my keyboard.
Then I got a piece of paper and went back out there. Looked at the options. There was a corner nearby with a sill a couple of inches off the ground, part of a glass door frame. So, I held the paper under the broken web on the wall and pulled it, and the egg sacs, off the wall ... with the spider, too. Somewhere in the three steps to the wall, I lost the spider. I put the web pieces and the egg sacs on the sill in the corner and looked around to see if I could find the little spider. Just then she climbed up over the sill, found her eggs, started checking them out. OK, I thought, I've done what could be done.
I went back to my desk for a little while. Left about 20 minutes later, walking by the sill on my way out. In that short time, she had attached some of the broken web pieces to the walls of her new corner and hauled her egg sacs up into the web about an inch. Clever girl, I thought, and it kind of transformed my day. A spider's life is a small life, but I had been watching her for weeks, pulling for her ... and had hated seeing her hanging off the wall, all hope dashed. Now she had a fighting chance. And I helped her, I felt pretty OK about that, too.
By the next morning, she had spun a new web, discarding the patch job made of the broken web pieces. And she had hauled her egg sacs about six inches up into the web. Well, OK. After awhile, the egg sacs started showing signs of life, bulging here and there. But then it got cold and stayed cold for a week or so, and I thought, they'll never hatch ... maybe she waited too late in the year to raise spiderlings, maybe she didn't catch enough prey to grow strong enough to do it earlier. I didn't know.
A few days of unseasonably warm weather came and one of the egg sacs hatched, spiderlings emerging like a cloud from one end. But that's as far as they got. Don't know why they didn't survive, but they didn't, turning still, then brown, just above their empty egg sac, like a hanging sculpture. The second egg sac never hatched and one day the spider disappeared, too. Not too long after that, someone swept out that corner and everything was gone.
This is the kind of happy, kind of sad, story of suzmonk and the spider.
Spotted on Oct 8, 2013
Submitted on Oct 10, 2013
and 3 other people favorited this spotting