June 12, 2021
We're reaching into the archives for today's #BenInNature update presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust! The following post was originally published on July 1, 2020.
In my opinion, the orchard spider (Leucauge venusta) is one of the most beautiful spiders in Virginia. I realize that many people would scoff at the idea of a beautiful spider, but just look at that abdomen! Doesn't it make you want to go out and buy a bag of jellybeans? OK, I'll stop.
These striking spiders are members of the long-jawed orb weaver family (Tetragnathidae), and they can be found throughout much of the east coast and extend into the central US. If you feel like you've never seen one before, chances are that you simply overlooked it; the females are larger than the males, but even the females top out at around 7.5mm.
If you'd like to spot one of these spiders, keep an eye peeled for their webs. Like all orbweavers, they spin traditional wheel-shaped webs. They build their webs fairly close to the ground in shrubs and small trees.
There is a lot of variation in the colors that these neat spiders exhibit, so be sure to keep an eye peeled!
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. In this series of posts, Administrator of Science Ben Williams ventures outdoors to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world. New updates are posted Monday - Friday, with previous posts highlighted on the weekends. This series of posts is made possible thanks to the support of VMNH Corporate Partner Carter Bank & Trust (www.cbtcares.com).
NATURE PHOTO IDENTIFICATIONS
If you discover something in nature that you would like help identifying, be sure to message us right here on Facebook with a picture (please include location and date of picture) and we'll have our experts help you identify it!