There are currently 634 known species of spiders in Ohio. Dr. Richard Bradley with the Ohio State University is currently updating the list, which was last published in 1924. It will be interesting to hear about the changes that have taken place in the last century. Spiders can evoke a lot of fear. As soon as I mention spiders in a class, inevitably someone emotes something negative.
There are things that give me the heebie-jeebies but spiders aren’t one of them. I like spiders a lot! Spiders are common in summer months and I’d guess that most people see spiders on a daily basis. I’ll go touch on a few of my favorites.
If you’ve walked in a woodlot in Dublin you’ve probably walked through the Spined Micrathena’s web which is often stretched across open sections of paths. If you’re lucky enough to see the web before you walk through it, you’ll notice how tightly the web is woven; revealing that the spider goes after smaller insects. You might even see the pointy spider waiting on its prey. Supposedly, the spines on this spider deter predators.
The Black and Yellow Garden Spider is one of the more evident spiders in Ohio with the female growing quite large (up to 2 1/2 inches). She spins a vertical web with a zigzag pattern in the center and is extremely beneficial in gardens. Prey includes larger insects such as grasshoppers but also mosquitoes and types of flies.
Bold Jumping Spiders are common in and around our homes too. As far as spiders go, I think they’re cute. They rarely bite humans and are not aggressive, despite their tendency to jump towards things much larger than themselves. They’re incredible dancers too!
Lastly, I’ll mention my number one favorite, the Bolas Spider. This small spider is common in our backyards. It sits on a leaf, resting during the day and resembles bird droppings to deter predators. Gross huh? It also throws a thin web with a sticky ball on the end to capture its prey which is primarily moths. It attracts moths by producing pheromones which mimic those of female moths trying to attract a mate. This spider is most active after dark.
All but one of Ohio’s species has venom. However, only the Black Widow and Brown Recluse can cause serious harm to humans. Most bites are misdiagnosed due to persistent fear of spiders.
What neat things have you seen this summer? Any spider encounters?