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Posts Tagged ‘Neoscona crucifera’

When this Spotted Orbweaver spider (Neoscona crucifera) spotted me last week at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge, it scurried along the silken threads of its web to the relative safety of the plant to which one end of the web was attached.

There is something that really appeals to me about this image. Maybe it’s the way that the colors of the spider match those of the plant or how the shapes of the stems are similar to those of the spider’s legs. Perhaps it is the contrast between the sharpness of a few elements in the image and the dreamy, almost ghost-like background.

Most of the time I strive for super-realistic images and try to draw a viewer’s attention to the details. When I am in an artsy, creative mood, though, I am content to capture an impression of the subject, leaving the details to the imagination of others.

spotted orbweaver spider

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

 

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Predator or prey? Dragonflies are fearsome predators, but they can also become prey—it’s the whole circle of life cycle in the natural world.

This past Friday as I was walking around Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, I spotted the twisted body of a dragonfly suspended in the air against a backdrop of the sky. Instinctively I knew that there must be a spider web there, although it was not initially visible. The wing pattern of the dragonfly made it easy to identify as a Common Whitetail (Plathemis lydia).

As I got closer, I realized that a large spider was holding onto the body of the dragonfly. I am not totally certain of the spider identification, but it looks to me like it is a Spotted Orbweaver (Neoscona crucifera). Often when I approach a spider, it will scurry to the edge of its web, but this spider defiantly stayed in place—it looked like it was determined not to give up its prey.

As many readers know, I really like dragonflies, but spiders have to eat too. Undoubtedly this scenario plays out multiple times each day, but it is still a little unsettling to see it face-to-face.

spider and dragonfly

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

 

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I spotted this barn spider (Neoscona crucifera) hanging in the air about the same time she sensed my presence. She scampered up her web as I moved in a little closer. Eventually she climbed back down and I managed to get these shots of her in motion.

Initially I couldn’t figure out why she was hurrying down the strands of her web. When she stopped, however, I could see that she was anxious to finish off the snack that she had wrapped up earlier.

Although these shots may look like they were taken with a macro lens, they were actually taken at 600mm on my Tamron 150-600mm zoom lens. I ended up focusing manually on the spider, because my camera kept wanting to focus on the background, which was a good distance away. Additionally, I used my pop-up flash on at least some of these images to bring out some of the details of the spider.

barn spider

barn spider

barn spider

barn spider

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I first caught sight of this spider yesterday when I almost walked into it—it was hanging in mid-air at eye level across a path and we were less than a foot apart when I encountered it.

Initially the spider scampered up a bit and then seemed to run out of web and came to a stop, giving me some time to change to my macro lens. The spider, which I think is a kind of orb weaver (Neoscona crucifera) that is sometimes called a barn spider, was about seven feet off the ground by this time, so it was quite a challenge getting a stable shooting position. I raised the ISO and used the pop-up flash and managed to get some reasonably sharp images.

These are my favorite two images. I really like the detail in the first shot, but like the background and angle of view more in the second shot. Which one is better? I vacillate in trying to decide, so included them both.

orbweaver spider

orbweaver spider

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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As I gazed across the little creek that I was following, I spotted a spider hanging in midair. The spider scrambled up one of its silken threads as I approached and stopped just short of the branch from which it had been hanging. It was pretty dark in the shade, so I cranked up the ISO to 1250, popped up the built-in flash, and propped the camera against another tree for stability.

Of the images that I attempted, this is the best one I managed of what I believe is a Spotted Orbweaver spider (Neoscona crucifera).

Neoscona crucifera

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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As the outside temperatures continue to drop, I am seeing fewer and fewer spiders. This is one of my favorite recent shots of what I think is a barn spider. I really like the way that the spots in the background mirror the spots on the spider’s abdomen.

I think that this may be a Neoscona crucifera spider, though it may be an Araneus cavaticus spider. Strangely enough, both of them are sometimes known as barn spiders.

orange_spider2_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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It seems appropriate to post a photo of a spider on the evening before Halloween. I was not able to get a look at the spider’s front side when I photographed it this past weekend at Huntley Meadows Park, so I can’t identify it. I know for sure, though, that I never want to wake up in the morning and have this view of a spider. With my near-sighted vision, that would mean that it was way too close to me for my comfort. Happy Halloween!

UPDATE: Thanks to the assistance of my mentor and fellow blogger, Cindy Dyer, I am now pretty sure that the spider is the orb-weaver spider Neoscona Crucifera, sometimes known as Hentz’s orb-weaver or a barn spider (though there are other spiders known as barn spiders too).

Pre-Halloween spider enjoys a snack

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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