I was so disappointed i hadn’t seen any orb weavers since last year. I began to fear that it would be another sparse year for my slender legged friends. During the first year on the property i had a whole squad of them. During the second year i spotted one female orb weaver and two male.
Summer was now in full swing. This was the time for them to emerge. I began to fear the worst. Then one morning around 3:30 am i was headed to work. I parked the car and got out to unlatch the gate. In the darkness, illuminated by the headlights i could see a web; a signature orb weaver web. It was located right where Wilma the weather spider used to make her web on the gate. I loved the golden orb weavers but the spotted orb weavers were my absolute favorite for their short stocky bodies and sometimes translucent red legs. They were less common around the homestead than the golden orb weavers but ever since Wilma, i’d never stopped looking. I held my breath as i hurried forward with the lantern to check. Yes!!!!!! It was indeed a spotted orb weaver! It was a female spotted orb weaver, brown and gray! It did not have red legs like my beautiful Wilma but it was a treasure nonetheless and i was beyond happy to see it. I dubbed her Willow, as a nod to the spider who used to make her web on the gate in just that spot. Every morning when i go to work Willow is in her web on the front gate and every morning i turn the headlights on her for a few minutes before unlatching the gate and driving through so disoriented insects can find their way into her sticky strands. I have a new buddy to protect from the mantises.