10.20.09 Creature Feature: Orb Weaver

[gallery order="DESC"]
photos by george billard
Can you actually believe that this is a fairly common and harmless spider? My jaw dropped when I saw this babe casually gliding across the side of the house. It's a marbled orb weaver (Araneus marmoreus). I wonder if her appearance had anything to do with today's ladybug invasion. I looked out the window at this gorgeous sunny morning and saw clouds of winged creatures filling the air—a truly extraordinary sight. Next thing I know, they are bombarding the house, finding any crack and cranny to slip inside. This is an annual occurrence, and I've certainly noticed them in the house during other fall seasons, but I've never been present to actually witness the onslaught. They're looking for winter shelter. Poor things, the inn is full. If they didn't smell so funky, they might be welcome. I've heard their particular aroma described as a cross between burning rubber and burning hair but I think it's more like ear wax (TMI?). Apparently, they are attracted to light surfaces but our house is green, so WTF? Fly away home, ladies—or risk getting munched by Mlle. Spider...