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Showing posts from September, 2014

European Garden Spider

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Last weekend while scouting rocks for International Rock Flipping Day, I noticed this young lady by my entry porch.  I snapped a couple of photos and returned to my rock hunt.  When I took another look at the photos, I realized what a beautiful creature this is.

She is a European Garden Spider(Araneus diadematus).  As the name implies, she is an immigrant from Europe and not a native North American arachnid.  Nevertheless, this has become one of the most familiar spiders seen in the Pacific Northwest.  They are most prevalent in late summer and fall.  Other common names include Diadem Spider, Cross Spider and Cross Orbweaver.

Orbweavers (family Araneidae) are the spiders that build wheel-shaped spiral webs.  The third pair of legs are specialized for building orb webs.  They are of little use out of the web.  The web is not the spider's home.  It is a trap for catching food.  This spider will build a new web early every morning.


Cropping the photo for a closer look reveals a hair…

Been Living Under a Rock

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Yesterday was International Rock Flipping Day.  This has become an annual event to encourage people to get outside and explore the natural world.  Nature bloggers, in particular, go out to favorite spots to see what is going on under the rocks.  This is also meant for families to provide their children a little STEM-ulus to explore science in their own backyards and beyond.

My plan was to head to the beach at low tide for my first IRFD post.  While I waited for the tide to go out, I did some practice flipping in the garden:


It's been pretty dry here since June.  So far, it has only rained once this month and conditions in the garden are quite arid.  I didn't expect to find much.  Our ubiquitous Woodlice were nowhere to be found.  I did discover this beetle under a stone at the edge of a gravel path.  I had some problems identifying it.  Click or right-click the photo to see it full size.  Based on image searches, it could be one of the North American native Rove Beetles(Ocyp…