Ah, the fall. Beautiful red, yellow, and green leaves twinkling in the slowly cooling Alabama air. Nothing like a nice walk in the woods. . . until suddenly you walk unexpectantly into a giant spider web. Aargh! Those crazy fall spiders are at it again!
But, thankfully, the webs that fall hikers walk into aren't caused by this spider- the Barn Spider. It is a very large and hideously ugly spider- with a web that can reach more than 3' in diameter. Walking into its web would be most unpleasant for both you and the spider. Fortunately, you would have to be hiking at night for this to happen.
The Barn Spider is very considerate of day hikers. It eats its web every morning and then respins it early every night. During the past couple of days, I've observed the spider shown in the accompaning photo, respinning its web in the early evening- and then in the morning- it is gone.
For the scientific readers: this spider is in the Orb Weaver family: Araneidae. Thanks to my good friend, Dr. Ron Van Houten, PhD in Zoology- he identified this spider as Neoscona hentzi. Ron has been a great help to me in sparking my interest in the living world around us.
I hereby submit the Barn Spider for the following two spider awards: one
nomination for Most Considerate and one nomination for Most Hideously Ugly, no Wonder It Only Comes Out at Night.