From the monthly archives: "March 2005"

What is this guy?
A colony of these spiders has set up shop in a crawlspace under a cottage on the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario, and seem to be wintering over. It is a damp and cold area (just above freezing). There are perhaps 6 of them, most having egg sacks near them. I haven’t seen anything like them before!

Hi Andrew,
Your gal is a female Domestic Spider, also commonly called a House Spider, Achaearanea tepidariorum. These small harmless Comb-Footed Spiders are common around the home, hence their common name. Your photo nicely illustrates the large and bulbous abdomen with its cream coloration and dark blotches. They spin irregular webs.

Hi! We have a swampy yard that we are trying to remedy (in south eastern West Virginia) and have put in a drainage system of pipes and gravel throughout the entire back yard. Now, in the winter/spring, we are INFESTED with these spiders (attached). They are really small and with every step you take in the grass, about 50-100 move with you. What are they and how do we get them to leave????
Thank you!!!!

Hi Christi,
You have baby Wolf Spiders. They are hunting spiders and do not build webs. The young are sometimes extremely plentiful in the spring as you well know. Soon natural selection and survival of the fittest will occur and they will feed on one another. The population will then be in check.

yellow garden spider
Not a lover of spiders so you can imagine my alarm to find this one dangling from the hem of my skirt. Fortunately it reappeared the following morning and we were able to get these photos. It was discovered near Mahone Bay on the South Shore of Nova Scotia. Despite numerous e-mails to my woodsy friends it went unidentified until I found your site. Can you tell me what the range of this spider is and how commom they are here? I’ve never seen anything like it.
Shauna Hatt
Halifax, Nova Scotia

Hi Shauna,
Yes, the Argiope aurantia can be alarming, but they are beautiful spiders. They range throughout the United States and in Southern Canada. I am not exactly sure how common they are in your area. I am very happy you had the wherewithall to get that beautiful photo after your startling first encounter.

moth found in Alabama
Can you tell me what this is? I took the picture in NW Alabama. Some kind of moth??
Beth Conklin

Hi Beth,
Your photo of a female Tulip Tree Silkmoth, Callosamia angulifera, is very beautiful. These moths range from New England to Florida and West to the Mississippi River. Here is a nice site that shows the life cycle of your moth. The moths are strongly attracted to lights.

a little creepy
I already wrote you and asked you about mites. When i finished the first e-mail i decided to scan the bug that i was wondering about. I hope the picture is good enough to tell what it is. It is really small and i have never seen such a bug in the 21 years i have lived in Ontario. I just don’t like the fact that it had claws and i want to make sure i don’t have mites. So if you could get back to me it would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you so much
p.s. awesome website

Hi Melisa,
You can rest assured you don’t have mites. You have a harmless Pseudoscorpion.

How does a dragonfly nymph fly?
I was pottering around in the backyard, when I noticed a dragonfly nymph flitting about. A long time ago, I read that the dragonfly is one of only two insects (the other is the hawk moth ) that can’t close its wings once they open out. So the natural question is how does the nymph fly without the wings opened out? I’ve uploaded a photo of the dragonfly nymph, or what I think is a dragonfly nymph.

Hi Shastri
First I will answer your question. Dragonfly nymphs do not fly. They are immature, wingless and live under the water. Adult Dragonflies cannot fold their wings. Your photo is of a close relative known as a Damselfly. Damselflies can be distinguised from Dragonflies by the fact that they can fold their wings. Thanks for the photo.