Tag Archive | Arachtober

An Arachtober Spider Outing


My smartphone sucks, probably as much as my smartphone photography technique!

On a bright sunny Sunday afternoon, Catherine and I made our suburban shopping rounds to keep ourselves fed (downtown Toronto is bloody expensive!), and then headed out to Humber Bay to find some spiders!


All over the beach we found these awesome gray wolves…Perhaps a Pardosa? Probably. There are a bunch of dark Pardosa in these parts. 


Getting them to pause for a photo was tough, as they were warm and in the mood to run.


This Hogna-like wolf spider was much more accomodating! Super pretty as well.


These spiders are difficult for non-experts to ID…I sent the pictures to an awesome wolf spider identifier I know, but I am not sure if she will respond.


A juvenile Phidippus audax, with surprisingly orange spectacles!


We found a few of these araneids, which we figure to be Zygiella atrica, and introduced one from Europe


Here is the male of Zygiella atrica, which we found adjacent to a female’s web.


The characteristic orb web of Zygiella. Note the missing sector at the top left.


A Philodromid looks awesome on a fall leaf.


Catherine found a few Larinioides hiding out in leaves.


Near a lighted building, we found our expected plethora of tetragnathids and Larinioides in almost communal webs. We also found a bunch of tiny dictynids, which I did not get any shots of.


Some of the Larinioides were quite light in colour. We need to collect a few sometime, as there are a couple species here in Toronto.


We even found a big old Castianeira, who seemed to be doing quite well living under the lights!


Some Arachtober shots and thoughts



October is a month for spiders, being the time when many of the species which have grown large on summer’s bounty are settling down to lay eggs, or looking for overwintering sites. For spider photographers, it is like golden hour all month! If you search flickr for “Arachtober” you will find the photographic bounty that macrophotographers have amassed.

This Arachtober, I have not really been applying myself to spider photography, although I have made some dedicated efforts to secure shots of black widow defenses (for Catherine’s invited  talk at last weekend’s ESBC conference), or Steatoda males and females, for my friend Chloe Gerak’s award-winning talk at the same conference.

Anyway, here are some shots and thoughts about my Arachtober.



Western black widow throwing silk on Catherine’s finger at Island View Beach.


Catherine gave a great talk on “dangerous spiders” at the ESBC conference, her first 1/2 hour talk. Her t-shirt (thanks Alex Wild!) serves as a great abstract of the talk.


Female Steatoda grossa with a bit of backlight highlighting her web. False black widows around here are not very black!


Chloe after delivering her awesome, award-winning talk entitled “How the false widow finds true love”.


Male and female Steatoda grossa juxtaposed for comparison.


A largish sac spider (Clubionidae) showing the large chelicerae typical of the family.


Putting the light a little behind the spider can help resolve some of the surface details and maintain a bit of mysteriousness at the same time.


More direct light makes for a less moody feel as the sac spider drinks water on a colourful leaf.


Arachtober is also a scary time for spiders. Here is an emesine thread-legged bug I found in a spider retreat, where it was likely feeding on spider eggs.


Fall foliage makes for a wonderful seasonal backdrop for this Hallowe’en spider villain.




Weekend Expedition 33: Fall in Stanley Park


Here we are, it is already  Arachtober, and fall weather has definitely arrived. While the rains last week kept me from going out shooting, this weekend we had a beautiful Sunday, perfect fall weather for some photography in Stanley Park.


Migration season has arrived, and all the Canada Geese are definitely in flying mode. There are takeoffs and landings every few minutes on Lost Lagoon in the morning. Go south, oh poopy ambassadors, and spread your green, cylindrical, gifts across America!



This may very well be my last jumper of the year…I found her under some bark on an old cedar stump.


A Snowberry leaf makes a nice perch for this spider.


Termites are of course still to be found in rotting wood. I hope all the Entomology students pay attention: if you do not have these in your collection by now, you aren’t looking hard enough!



A couple crow shots, because i can’t help it…



Flipping logs is something I have been doing since I was a little kid…And this Ensatina is a good reason why!


Ensatina eyes are some of the prettiest of salamander eyes. They are almost like the eyes of a doe.


This is a very odd fungus I found on an old stump. I wonder if it might be a really young fruitbody of a Hericium species.


A tiny Uloborid spider, likely Hyptiotes gertshi.


Looking elegant, stretched out on a grass blade. Metellina?