Friday, October 17, 2014

A New Discovery While Walking in the Woods

This is what you see when you don't walk in the woods with your eyes on a phone.
A hole where one wouldn't normally see a hole.
That hole under that long piece of yellow grass? As I crouched down to take a look at the strange gauze laying on the leaves, a medium-sized brown spider shot back into the hole. When I looked closer, it was obvious this 'hole' was not a tear in a gauzy web but woven right into the whole structure. This spider hides in this hole.
So - back at home, not during my walk with my phone - I Googled "spider web hole" and learned this is a grass spider and the hole is properly called a funnel.
The spiders who weave the circular hanging webs we commonly associate with spiders are called "orb" spiders. Those are sticky webs that bugs cannot escape from once they are caught by it. A grass spider works in an entirely different fashion.
Further reading revealed that the quick dart with which the spider retreated back into his funnel is part of his hunting strategy. For these pleasant-sounding grass spiders are hunters: When a bug lands on this non-stick gauze-like web, it gets tangled long enough for the spider to sense the vibrations, dart out of the hole and paralyze the bug before dragging it back down the funnel to devour it.
Welcome to your new spider nightmare!

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