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Spiders are arachnids, and can be found almost everywhere -- close to or far from structures, on or about shrubbery, smaller plants, and lawns, and near the soil. Spiders do like to hide, and the easiest way to find them is to look for a web.
Finding a web early on a sunny morning, before the dew dries, is always a pretty treat. They are wonderful pieces of natural lace! You think they are simple things to be torn and destroyed? Try making one. When people fashion spider's webs using thread or string, the webs are perfectly symmetrical, and not that pretty. One of the beauties of a spider's web is its' asymmetry, and, therefore, adaptability to the surrounding elements to which the web is attached. In other words, regardless (by the way, kids, there is no such word as "irregardless") of the size and shape of the space where the web is made, the web always fits perfectly.
It has been estimated that there are thousands of spiders per acre of woodland and meadow. Remembering that spiders eat smaller bugs, we must recognize the services that spiders perform for us. ("Bugs" probably isn't a very good word, but I don't know another one that includes every creepy, crawly thing in the whole world.) They put their webs in places where they think they will get enough to eat. We can think of a spider's web as a kind of arachnid super-market.
I have read that butterflies' wings used to be furry, and thereby, many of them got caught in spider webs, and they died out. They were replaced by butterflies with hairless wings. That is another example of natural adaptation. Either that or it is incorrect. Might want to research that.
The brilliant scientist believes that there are some hundreds of spiders in each of our houses and gardens. He also tells us that different kinds of spiders live in different environments. I wonder if there are differences between spiders who live in houses and those who live in apartments? Probably he means that some kinds of spiders live indoors and other kinds live outdoors. When we see webs in our houses, we take them down because we think they make us look "dirty."
You can usually capture a spider by providing a stick for them to explore, then transfer the stick to a container. Aha!
An orb-web spider (one that constructs a suspended, round web) can be trapped by placing a bag beneath the web and then gently tapping the spider so that it drops into the bag.
A funnel-web spider (one that constructs its web in the shape of a funnel) can be caught by inverting a jar quickly over the spider when it is at the front of its web and sliding a card under the mouth of the jar.
Sweepnetting a grassland area will gather hundreds of spiders. In autumn, a collection of weeds, rotted leaves, or loose soil will probably turn up many small spiders. To see your captured spiders, put the materials you gathered into a white pan. The spiders will show up against the light background. After you have observed the spiders for awhile, please gently take them outside for release to Nature. A newspaper in San Diego recently published an article head-lined by, "Spiders Just Want To Go Outside." I think that is not correct, but what do I know? I'm just a brilliant writer; not a brilliant scientist. I think that spiders seek shelter from cold and wet. When you release them to nature, they find a place to hide. We need to do some research to find out whether or not spiders just want to go outside.
In the fall, you can look for egg cases. They are white or brownish, and look like small balls of silk, similar to a round cocoon. They will be in corner-type places where they are not likely to be disturbed. They should be allowed to remain where the parent spider left them. If you are lucky, you might see them hatch in the spring. It is quite a sight to see zillions of tiny spiders come marching out of their egg case!
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