araneus diadematus in the center of its web
This spider is an araneus diadematus. It's hanging head down in the center of its web, one of 2 hunting methods. This feature picture doesn't render well. So make sure to go look at this picture in the gallery.

2020/10/31 – Halloween Special

That’s right folks, today is Halloween, and though I disapprove of the door-to-door candy begging, I very much like the dark side of that holiday. I find all the ugly, weird, and frightening characters that represent this particular night very fascinating and amusing. And so, it is with great satisfaction that I have gathered some of the usual suspects in tonight’s Halloween Special photos gallery.

Our first picture is one almost perfect spider web with its builder, as expected, smack right in the center. I said “almost” because, as you can see, there are a few threads that are out of alignment in a couple of places. But in my long experience of checking out spiderwebs, this is the closest I have come to perfection.
The spider is an araneus diadematus. I wasn’t aware of this until I did the research but it is part of the larger family of the orb weavers. According to Wikipedia:
The webs are built by the larger females who hang head down in the center of the web or remain hidden in nearby foliage, with one claw hooked to a signal line connected to the main orb waiting for a disturbance to signal the arrival of prey
And, interestingly enough, my spider pictures today show you exactly that. The first shows the spider hanging head down in the center of the web. And the fourth pictures is another spider, of the same kind, hidden in a folded leaf with its legs touching the alert threads.
I also added the spider with its prey in the middle of the web. It seems that it just caught it because it’s not yet wrapped up.

Then we have a series of a beautiful California swollenstinger scorpion. OK, not everybody will think this creature is beautiful but, he certainly can strike a photogenic defensive posture, don’t you think?
Its claws look quite striking, but they really are only for show. They are used to distract the prey, thus preventing it from noticing the much more dangerous tail stinger.

I close this gallery with a couple of pictures of a great horned owl. Most difficult shots since taken at night with just a flashlight. Naturally, they don’t like being in the spotlight. So they fly away almost immediately after I take a couple of pictures.
I have seen and tried to take good pictures of barn owls too, but they were too far away.
Owls are interesting on many respects. They hunt at night, seeing perfectly when we would never be able to. And they have a hearing which has been estimated to be 10 times better than ours. They eat mice, rats, and rabbits. So they are, along with the coyotes, an essential part of the rabbits population control in our area.

Happy Halloween everybody!




  1. Michael says:

    Love the dark nighttime background of the spider shot. It does give it the Halloween effect.

    The first owl shot is on point. I can see the piercing eyes so clearly, it’s very spooky.

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