That’s some spider!

A large female cross orb weaver sitting on its web.I’m always astonished by nature’s resilience, but I simply can’t believe this cross-orb weaver is still alive and kicking outside our door in frigid Massachusetts. I have never seen one live for so long past the hard frost. 

If you look at the markings, you can see that this species (Araneus diadematus) was the model for our Christmas spider ornaments. I never thought we’d see a wild one last through Christmas and into the new

A large female cross orb weaver spider hides in her favorite spot, while feeling the threads of her web for vibrations.

When she was just a tiny spiderling, she really hit the jackpot finding her abode. She lives in a protected exterior corner of the house by the door, where we watched her grow bigger and bigger as the summer went on.

Every night, she would spin a fresh web, then retire in the daylight to her hiding spot in the unused screen track of a glass window. There, she rests one claw on the threads of her web, feeling for the thrashings of some hapless insect. 

Whenever I come and go, I look for her, and always see that little claw sticking out just a bit. She reminds me of a tired fisherman snoozing on the beach with her rod in hand.

Tonight it’s not so cold, and she’s relaxing on her web like she did in the warm summer nights of her youth. She was never supposed to live this long, but sometimes we all break the rules to have a good time.

Happy New Year to you, and to this tough little spider - may we all exceed expectations, break through limitations, and surprise ourselves in 2022.

1 comment

Bernd Heinrich, a biology professor at U of VT, is one of my favorite authors. He had a spider, orb weaver I think, living in his cabin which was not winterized. He thinks it was the same spider who was there each spring for over five years. Maybe you bring her in and and have an 8 legged guest for the winter? 😁

Jenny March 16, 2022

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