Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Garden Surprise

First, i admit that i am a big old arachnophobe. Even though i have a degree in entomology, spiders have been known to make me scream, if i walk into a web i panic, and they just give me the creeps big time. Except for jumping spiders. It seems that the shorter legs, being covered with "fur", and having visible eyes, makes me feel more like they are tiny rodents or something, because i will even catch them in my bare hands to get a better look at them. (I had the chance to hold a tarantula recently, and i couldn't do it. I couldn't get past the thought that even though it was sized more like a mouse, it was going to feel cold and have some weight.-shudder-)

I found this little orange guy, with the smile on his abdomen, in my garden today (Phidippus sp.)

There is a really neat website that you can check out if you find a "bug" and want to identify it: bugguide.net. To use it it helps if you have already narrowed your critter down to family, but there are millions of photos, so you can just peruse pictures to find your critter. These other jumping spider photos are from the website and are of other Phidippus species. The site is fun to explore, just to make you go "wow" and be amazed at the wonderful variety of insects and spiders in our gardens.

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