Can you identify what's in this photo?
Each Wednesday morning
on Camp Lutherlyn's Facebook page
the Lutherlyn Environmental Education Program posts a photo.
Readers have all morning and afternoon
to make their best guess about what the photo is.
Around 6 pm LEEP provides the answer and a brief explanation.
Each week's What is it Wednesday post
will also be posted on the Nature of Lutherlyn blog,
after it is posted on Facebook,
sometimes with additional bonus information.
In addition to bringing you current editions of What is it Wednesday
on the Nature of Lutherlyn blog,
we will be reposting old editions,
creating a What is it Wednesday archive.
This photo was posted as a What is it Wednesday on
October 30, 2019.
And the answer is....
There are many color variations of marbled orb weaver, but the bright orange variety seen here give this spider the common name “pumpkin spider” and makes it a perfect feature for October and Halloween!
Spiders have two body parts – the abdomen and cephalothorax (head and “chest” in one section). The abdomen is the most visible part in this picture, the cephalothorax is just barely visible (and a bit blurry) on the spider’s bottom right side under its outstretched legs.
All orb weavers are part of the arachnid family Araneidae. That makes this orb weaver a relative of the yellow and black Argiope garden spider, a previous What is it Wednesday feature. All orb weavers build a round web with “spokes” of thread radiating outward from the center, some of them sticky “capture” threads. While argiopes wait for their prey in the middle of the web, marbled orb weavers wait for their prey while concealed off to the side of their web. A single signal thread reaches from the center of the web to their hiding spot, and vibrations on this thread of the web alert the spider that something has landed in the web.
The bright colors and large abdomen of this spider give it a startling appearance, but they are docile and non-aggressive, so humans have nothing to fear from them. In fact, they are great neighbors to have, because by preying on insects, they help control insect populations. In fact, most of the creatures that humans fear in nature are harmless and just doing their job as part of the ecosystem.
For more on how LEEP can help you transform your view of nature from fearful to fascinating, through school field trips, Saturday Safaris, summer camp, retreats and more, check out www.Lutherlyn.com/ee. Happy Halloween everyone!
Like and follow Camp Lutherlyn on Facebook, to see What is it Wednesday posts when they come out and have the opportunity to share your guesses in the comments!