Thursday, July 24, 2014

What a Beautiful Day!

What a beautiful day to be outside! The sun is shining, its not too hot, and there is a nice little breeze blowing through. Unlike the past few days where it was hot and muggy!

So for my farm day today I was back over at Rippling Brook Farm. When I got there Aaron and his children were picking cabbage, again (this is like the 10th time, or more!) I wasn't sure what to do so he sent me over to weed the jalapeno peppers with one of his daughters. I don't like hot stuff but those peppers looked good!

After that we started weeding cabbage (almost thought I was back to that first day.)

And while we were weeding, we stumbled upon this little fe-llow (female fellow :) .....

This is a female Black and Yellow Argiope spider (Argiope aurantia.) Argiopes are orb weavers, meaning they spin their webs in a beautiful circlular design. Argiopes are also one of the few spiders that are active during the day. They are commonly found in fields and gardens, like the one we found today.

Another characteristic of Argiopes and day active spiders is they spin stabilimenta. Stabilimenta is a thick, zig-zag shaped web, which you can see in this picture. It is uncertain what the stabilimenta is used for for certain, but speculations are that it is used for either stabilizing the web (stable is the root word), attracting prey, or discouraging predators by the reflection of UV rays. Either way, its a pretty cool feature of the Agriope.

I learned about this spider, and many more, in one of my classes at SRU. I am glad that I am able to put my learned knowledge to work and that I could share this knowledge with you. Also, like most spiders, Agriopes are venomous to their prey, but to humans, the bite isn't any worse than a bee sting. So if you see one in your own garden, please do not harm this beautiful creature!

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