I have a love-hate relationship with this week's featured critter.
Yes, those eight-legged freaks also known as arachnids.
You see, I love it when I come across one outside. But hate it when I come across one inside...especially in my house. I do everything I can to remove the critters presence from my dwelling.
This desire to remove any and all from my home, comes from waking several times with a spider walking across my body. One time, even, the spider was tickling my lips as I slept, and this was in Honduras. I have no idea what kind it was, or whether it was poisonous or not. I didn't like where I found it and flicked it somewhere else in my room with my finger.
Several weeks after that incident, I was participating in an training exercise crawling around under hootches where the nastiest of Honduran spiders resided and they weren't bothering me at all.
So, several years ago when I was visiting my sister, I noticed an Orb Weaver web high in a Juniper tree and added the creatures to my list of photo subjects. If you look closely on the right hand side of this photo, you can see the web owner sitting in wait for its next victim.
Also at my sister's, I came across another Orb Weaver spinning a home in the eaves of their garage. I guess this little fella didn't like me getting as close as I did and took off for its hidey-hole moments after the image below was taken.
However, the best place for me to find an arachnid of any type is on the High Desert. I don't often come across them, but when I do, I find their variety, size and look very interesting as the next two Orb Weavers show.
I was actually looking for a flying insect which landed somewhere on the spider side of the plant, when I noticed this large creature. I thought the markings on it were fantastic and fired off a couple of shots.
On another trip into the desert areas around town, I came across the Orb Weaver below. It was extremely busy at the time building its web and I watched it for several minutes as I snapped shot after shot of it. The differences between the critter below and the one above is easily seen. There are more than 2,800 different species of Orb Weavers worldwide and approximately 180 species in North America.
During a trip to San Antonio a couple of years ago, I was wandering around the Mitchell Lake area when I noticed a Jumping Spider scurrying down the stalk of a nearby weed. This one being different from most of the spiders I had previously seen, I couldn't help but get a photo. And "a" photo is all I got, as it leaped into the low weeds and disappeared as quick as it appeared.
Finally, one of the more interesting arachnid species is the Daddy-long-legs spiders, also known as Cellar Spiders. I crossed paths with the one below at a wildlife refuge near Braidwood, Illinois. I was surprised to see one in the middle of a marshy area, as I had always thought of this species being the type which hide in dark areas such as basements and attics. But I learned something new that day.
Whether or not any of the above arachnids have more specific common names, I don't know. My reference material on spiders is limited, and it is slow searching the net for additional information. Similar looking spiders can be two different species based on the number of bands on the legs, or the number of eyes in clusters, or the design of the critter's mouth. But I am always doing what I can to improve my knowledge of what I see and shoot in what I like to call, Ashrunner's World.
If you enjoyed (really...I enjoyed bringing it to you) my installment of Misty Dawn's Camera Critters Meme this week, go to her page located here. There you'll find other players. And, if you're inspired, join in the fun.