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Some more Adair County spiders

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By Matt Downen, PhD

Last year I wrote a small blurb on Adair Spiders for October and would like to contribute another one.

Yellow Garden Spider: Many people see these large orbweavers around this time of year. They have many common names, but their scientific name is Argiope (pronounced Ar-GUY-oh-pee). Female spiders are often larger than males (which is really striking in this picture). The zigzag shape in their web is called a stabilimentum. The purpose of the stabilimentum is debated--it might be to attract insect prey, it might make it more visible to keep birds from flying into the web, or it might camouflage the spider from predators.

Cellar Spider: These are the spiders that hang upside down under those dusty webs in barns, garages, and basements. After laying eggs, the mother cellar spider wraps them in a little silk and carries the clutch of eggs in her jaws.

Wolf Spider: These large wolf spiders are pretty common this time of year. Their common name is the rabid wolf spider (scientific name Rabidosa rabida), but they aren't actually rabid. Males usually have dark black front legs. If you shine a flashlight out in the yard at night and see lots of blue-green sparkles... it's light reflecting from wolf spider eyes! And I don't recommend squishing wolf spiders, because this time of year they might be carrying a hundred or so babies on their backs!

This story was posted on 2021-10-05 10:58:12
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Some more Adair County spiders

2021-10-05 - Adair Co., KY - Photo by Matt Downen.
By Matt Downen, PhD

October is spooky season, so here are some more spiders from Adair County. These photos were taken in September and October of 2021. From left to right: The Yellow Garden Spider was spotted on Pelham Branch Rd., the Pholcid Spider out Highway 206, and the Wolf Spider was spotted on Bomar Heights.

None of these spiders are particularly dangerous to people. Because they are so large, a bite from the yellow garden spider or wolf spider will usually be similar to a bee sting, but bites are rare. Cellar spiders have very weak venom and are not dangerous to people.

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