Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Well Known Spider

A friend brought me this impressively large female spider – a good 25 mm in length – for identification, he said his porch was literally crawling with them. I had never seen anything like it before and after several fruitless Internet searches was none the wiser as to its identity.

The eye pattern is definitely Araneus.

Ventral aspect of the chelicerae


The photos of the spider were uploaded to BugGuide.Net and the mystery arachnid was quickly pegged as a Barn Spider (Araneus cavaticus). I'm reliably informed by many other people that this spider is by no means rare, in fact, it's very common on and under porches, in barns and other rural outbuildings – and yet my submission to BugGuide.Net is the first data point for Ontario.

In fact this spider is not only ubiquitous but has no small claim to fame – this is Charlotte A. Cavatica in the children's book Charlotte's Web, written by E.B. White.