Sunday, August 17, 2008


I remember waiting for the bus with my girls in the early morning when they were very young. Standing wrapped in an old housecoat, down by the road, crazy curly hair every which way, thankful few people passed our old country home at that hour.
I’d run a few feet up the gravel hill of the driveway as we heard it approach, and stand straight-- behind the big maple in the yard—its wide trunk hiding me. Inching my way slowly around its wide base as the bus drove off down the road. Only peeking out as it rounded the bend toward school.

I found a spider at the edge of the pond—so thin she can hide behind a blade of grass. With four legs forward and four behind, she hugs the stem as closely as she can, her slender brown form matching it perfectly. And slips carefully around it as I peek at her.

Tetragnatha sp.
Long-jawed Orb Weaver

My, what large jaws you have!

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NCmountainwoman said...

I love the comparison of mom hidden by a tree and the spider hidden by a stem. Great story and great photographs.

cestoady said...

What a curious spide !! Who ever named this spider must have been impressed by the big jaws so it was named TETRA-- (four in Greek) for the total of four parts of the two jaws, and,GNATA-- (Greek for jaws) -- to give the scientific name Tetragnatha of the family Tetragnathidae.

Scientific names may seem complicated ,but a great many are descriptions of some prominent feature of the beast -- as in the case of this interesting spider.

nina said...

Cestoady--her jaws WERE the first feature I noticed. I usually assess the "danger" when sneaking up on creatures I may not be overly familiar with. Although she could slim her legs and body behind the stem, her jaws still stuck out! That was enough for me to assume they could be used if I were too forward. A prominent feature indeed.
I read later that Tetragnatha spiders are not considered aggressive biters, but can and will if provoked. Yikes!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I about cracked up thinking about you hiding from the bus driver. Ha. A great analogy. I am sure that spider is trying to sneak up on some prey. It is a very unusual creature. I will be looking for one around here.