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Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Charlotte came to visit!

You remember Charlotte, from Charlotte's Web?

She came to visit the other day and has been staying on our back deck. Charlotte is a barn spider, or Araneus cavaticus.

About an inch in diameter, barn spiders are nocturnal, although our Charlotte hangs out on the back deck in her web all day long, but is obviously at rest. These spiders are easily identified with a yellow and brown body, striped legs, and a very disctinct marking on its underside of two little white marks inside the black of the body.

Barrn spiders, and our Charlotte, are part of the orb weaver family. These are spiders that normally take down their web and rebuild another web every evening. But we haven't noticed that our Charlotte completely rebuilds her web, but only repairs it when needed. Then at night she sits and waits for her prey/meal.

This spider was the same well known spider depicted in the book Charlotte's Web by American writer E. B. White. Of interest is that in the book Charlotte's full name is Charlotte A. Cavatica. Get it? It's a reference to the her scientific name, Araneus cavaticus. Also in the book one of Charlotte's daughters, after asking what her mother's middle initial was, names herself Aranea; which ties in with the order in which this spider is classified.

Cool huh?

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