Common Spiders More Than Just Creepy Crawlers

by Lucy Benton, age 12

When most people think of spiders, they picture creepy, crawly, eight-legged monsters lurking in dusty corners. But spiders are more than just creepy. In fact, there are many species of spider in North America, each with unique capabilities. Some of the most common species are Grass spiders, California Wolf spiders, and Black-and-yellow Argiope spiders.

Grass spiders belong to the Agelenidae family, more commonly known as the Funnel Web Weavers. They make large, horizontal webs along the ground, in the grass, or among low vegetation. Although most spiders have sticky webs to capture prey, the Grass spider's web sends out vibrations when an insect lands on it. This vibration informs the spider of an insect's presence.

In contrast, California Wolf spiders do not make webs. Instead, they inhabit burrows in all types of climates. This species, usually one inch long, is also nocturnal. A female's spiderlings catch a ride on their mother's back by holding onto her hairs. They stay here for up to a month after hatching.

Like the Grass spider, Black-and-yellow Argiopes make visible webs. Large spiders with bold coloration, they are found in southern Canada and all over the U.S. They hang in the center of their webs and wait for prey. This species is also known as the Black-and-yellow Garden spider or the Golden Orb Weaver.

These species of common spiders may give you the creeps, but there are many interesting aspects of them. Grass spiders, California Wolf spiders, and Black-and-yellow Argiope spiders are only some of the many spiders that can be found all over North America and the rest of the world. Next time you are in your backyard, keep your eyes open for one!

[Source: The Encyclopedia of North American Animals]

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