Spiders in residence – Atlantic Yacht Basin

Argiope aurantia aka Corn Spider

Argiope aurantia aka Corn Spider

Spiders have taken up residence in mass numbers at the Atlantic Yacht Basin. They are not particularly ferocious looking guys, kind of spindly and gray-brown … not the furry variety. Their webs stretch all along the dock railings and it looks as if they’ve been doing a bang-up business catching errant flying insects for their dinners. Sometimes when I’m walking up the dock in the early morning, a stray piece of silk hits my face or arm and it drives me crazy. I’m not a spider fan, so I try to keep my distance even though all evidence indicates that they’re harmless and non-venomous.

Yesterday morning as I was walking up the dock, however, I noticed a brightly colored black and yellow spider that stood out from the rest and it brought back childhood memories of summer vacations on my aunt’s farm. One of the farm chores for the kids was always weeding the garden and these “corn spiders”, as we called them, always strung their webs between the corn rows. If you weren’t careful, you met them at eye level as you were traipsing through the rows to get to the rest of the garden. Yuck!

So this arachnid guy, or girl as I soon learned, actually has several names according to Wiki including yellow garden spider, golden garden spider, writing spider, McKinley spider and, yes, corn spider (Argiope aurantia). They’re quite common, it seems, though I hadn’t seen one in this area before. This one had firmly established herself in a corner of the portico that leads onto the dock near Nine of Cups. Besides her distinctive, bright coloring, the remarkable thing about this spider is the zig-zag pattern made in the center of the web … probably the reason she’s also referred to as a writing spider. “In a nightly ritual, the spider consumes the circular interior part of the web and then rebuilds it each morning with fresh new silk.”

Despite learning all this fascinating information, I was not disappointed to see that her web was gone this morning. I realize spiders are good for keeping other insects in check and I’m sure the spider-activists are going to bash me for this, but one less spider in my neighborhood is good thing.

I know, I know … this blog is a total departure from boat talk, van talk, travel talk or There to Here talk, but bear with me. Sometimes the blogs are just about whatever attracts (or distracts) my attention … and spiders certainly get my attention.