Many people watch birds, photograph butterflies, and chase dragonflies. Try observing spiders for a change of pace. They are interesting creatures with more legs than insects (an extra two) and less body parts than insects. Insects have 3 body parts (head, thorax and abdomen). Spiders have two, the cephalothorax, where the head and thorax are joined, and an abdomen. The cephalothorax bears the eyes (numerous), mouthparts and 4 pair of legs. The abdomen contains the spinnerets for making strands of silk and the respiratory, digestive and reproductive organs.
One interesting and very common group of spiders is the Wolf Spiders. They are in the Family Lycosidae, named for the Greek work “lycosa” meaning wolf. Most wolf spiders live on the ground and are usually found hiding during the day. They don’t spin webs except for one genus. They hide in leaf litter where they are well camouflaged or hide in holes (some borrowed and others dug). Wolf spiders are usually patterned in browns, tans and blacks. There are over 200 species of wolf spiders in North America. This family is usually easy to recognize but individual genera may be difficult.
They have 8 dark eyes of unequal size arranged in 3 rows. The first row has four eyes and the middle pair of eyes is the largest. They have very good vision and may actively pursue prey.
See the handsome devil below.
One of the most common families of spiders is the Orbweaver (family Araneidae). Almost all of this family spins orbs (more commonly known as spider-webs) to catch prey. Some stay on the web and some hide in a little nearby retreat. Notice that those that do stay on the web usually hang upside down in the center. Unlike the wolf spider, the orbweaver has poor vision and locates its prey by vibration.
Some the genera have exaggerated form combined with beautiful colors. Remember, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
So, suck it up and get out there and start enjoying spiders.