Garden Surprise

I went out to pick our first cucumbers last night and came across a cluster of baby spiders in the cucumber leaves.  The spiders are off to the right.  The egg sac is hidden among the leaves to the left.

spiders (8).JPG

I have some close ups below.  Arachnophobes beware.

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spiders (7)

I’m not sure what kind of spiders they are.  I am guessing either nursery web spiders or grass spiders.

They look completely different from a cluster of baby orb weavers I found in 2013 (below).  I wish we had more orb weavers around here, but grass or nursery web spiders are great for a garden, too.

spiders (9).JPG

I did remember to pick our first pickling cucumbers.  They were delicious.

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Update!

I went back out to take a look at the baby spiders, and I found Mama!

First, though, cool behavior: just like the little orb weavers, the baby spiders cluster in a tight ball, and when they are surprised they scatter.  The web is full of molted skins, so I imagine they will disperse soon.

 

mama spider (3) smallAnd Mama.  Babies are at the top, Mama at the bottom.  She’s no shrinking violet, her body is almost an inch long!

mama spider (5) small

Isn’t she lovely?  She’s a Nursery Web Spider (Pisaurina brevipes)  I have seen them around the garden often, so I shouldn’t be surprised.  They are hunting spiders, so great for catching garden beetles.  I love photographing little creepy crawlies.  This photo is definitely a keeper!

 

mama spider (2)

She caught and was eating… something.  I’ll assume it’s a pest.  Good girl!

 

mama spider (4) smallJust before she skittered away to hide, she peed.  Or pooped.  Or whatever spiders do.  And I accidentally got a picture of it.  They boys were so excited.

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