Thursday, August 13, 2015
Look for them in low hanging shrubs, bushes and other plants especially in moist woodlands or wetlands. Like most orb weavers they build elaborate webs up to a foot in diameter for capturing insects. Spiders within the family Tetragnathidae build webs with a hole at the center where they will "Hang out" waiting for prey to fall or fly into the web. You will usually find them hanging upside down and with their back facing the ground, so they will be placed on the underside of the web. This exposes their belly for viewing and sometimes causes them to be mistaken for black widows, which I find amazing. But, I guess if you see a reddish or orangish marking on the belly of a spider your first thought might be widow!
This is thought to be the only spider named by Charles Darwin, who we know to be the person behind the theory of evolution. The genus name of Leucauge in Greek translates to *with a bright gleam* and combined with the species name venusta which is Latin for elegant, beautiful or charming makes for a very apt name for these spiders. Although I'm not sure if spiders can be charming or not, but as evidenced here they can certainly be beautiful.
Like many spiders they will retreat when they feel threatened. Some will follow a drag line made of silk to a safe hiding spot somewhere near the edge of the web in some shrubbery, this species often drops completely to the ground to hide among the leaf litter. While this can make them somewhat difficult to find, taking a little time to search for them is well worth it to be awarded a closer look at the spectacular species.