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December 08, 2016
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Fall spiders

A female fishing spider guards her nursery web during early September along a lake shore. She will guard her young until their first molt, at which time they will disperse.
TRR photos by Scott Rando

October 4, 2012

The leaves are changing color, and many insects are easier to find; they have reached full size and some species have just completed, or are in the midst of, breeding. For many insects and other arthropods, the fall season signals the end; they die after breeding or with the first hard frost.

Spiders can be seen at this time as well. Many spiders overwinter in a protected hiding spot, and some spider species continue to hunt in order to sustain themselves through the winter months. Spiders can be observed breeding during early fall as well. Species such as the garden spider create an egg case with thousands of eggs; the female dies at the first frost, but her eggs will hatch at the following spring. Other spiders create a nursery web during mid to late summer. This web serves as protection until the young spiders are developed enough to fend for themselves. These spiders overwinter.

Hunting spiders that do not produce webs to capture prey may also be seen foraging; the cooler weather may slow them down just enough to be able to get a closer look. Some hunting spider species produce a nursery web; others just produce an egg sac in a hiding place. Whatever kind of web you might see, take a closer look for the fall spiders.