Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Bug Business

First, an update on the Corn Spider front. Last week I reported that Mr Corn Spider had been eaten by Mrs Corn Spider when he was no longer, um, necessary. I may not have been totally accurate, although several sources say the eating definitely occurs.

Another scientist gives more tragic information though, stating that Mr Corn Spider suffers a heart attack immediately upon completing his part in the romantic moment, after which Mrs C either eats him or does not. Depends on how hungry or carried away she is, I suppose.

But wait, there is more!



The original Mrs C has hung her fourth egg sac and acquired a neighbor! Apparently an invited young neighbor since she has neither devoured her nor driven her away.

We are sitting on a prime piece of arachnid real estate here on this island and

Who knew!



We have watched the newcomer grow from a baby to this over the last few days and this morning she had created her first zipper web, caught a tasty insect, and is in the process of wrapping it up. When that is complete it will become her lunch.

Above her on the left you can see the original Mrs C, along with three of her egg sacs. She appears to be in declining health and shrinking.






We have had another interesting visitor from the vast array of creepy-crawlers that make South Carolina home, the ...

Orange Dog Caterpillar

I kid you not. Orange dog caterpillar.

He was chowing down on our lime tree foliage and had caused considerable destruction before we noticed what was up.

A couple inches long, one can decimate a small lime tree in a day.

Another charming attribute: it appears to predators to be bird poop on the leaf and has a forked tongue-like appendage that flicks out and gives off the odor of ... you guessed it, bird poop!

BUT, the ugly duckling caterpillar will metamorphose into the beautiful
Giant Swallowtail


with a 4 1/2 to 6 inch wingspan.

Can't wait to see those flying around!


(Giant Swallowtail photo: Wikipedia)



  1. It's like a regular little soap opera down your way. Now how on earth does something evolve to to look like bird droppings? Nature never ceases to amaze!

  2. You are becoming quite an expert on insect life. Do these spiders bite(humans)?

  3. Cynthia, definitely I wouldn't live with them....... because they are ugly... so now I prefer cold climate...

  4. Cynthia, great observations on these little creatures and the biology lesson that accompanies your pictures. Wonderful.

  5. Maybe the new spider is a daughter. I am glad we don't have those caterpillars if they can eat a tree's worth in a day, no matter how lovely they turn out.

  6. Cynthia - your fascination with the sex and love lives of spiders is starting
    to concern me. Maybe it is the result of the different climatic conditions of
    South Carolina as compared to Minnesota climes?????

    I may have to have a chat with young Mason on the subject.

    Summer in sub-tropical Brisbane has similar climatic conditions,
    I shall just hope that I do not develop a spider fascination!!!!
    A rather slightly concerned
    PS: Are there tablets available to assist you with this 'whatever"??????
    There is a Mayo Clinic just down the road at Jacksonville - just a thought.

  7. I have enjoyed the Corn Spider happenings! Your newest visitor will be a beauty hope he doesn't eat tall the Lime leaves. I wonder how long Mrs Corn Spider will hang around before something gets her? :(

  8. You've done a lot of research on these spiders. They have very different habits and life cycles. So with retirement you have a chance to watch and think about the critters.

  9. You have a lot more "pets" in your new home and very interesting ones. I like the spider story, the mother looks miserable indeed. It must be hard to be a spider mother....

  10. Well I have to admit I am not a fan of bugs, but your pictures are something to see. You guys in the south sure grow big bugs. My mother used to work for the entomology department of a university. They saw some really large bugs, as you could imagine, since people sent samples to their extension office for identification. I wasn't wild about bugs then either, but my kids as children loved visiting her to see the samples. Ahh, well. It is all nature.

  11. Sex life of a spider! Hm, I knew some creatures ate after! Interesting how you have watched and observed such tiny mites, good on you, it's a way to learn then share with us your observations...beautiful butterfly, good how that happens...

  12. We do have some interesting critters down here in the south, love the butterflies, it's an ever changing inventory. Ms Spider leads an interesting life, better to eat than to be eaten.
    In the Richard III class I'm Janet Gutierrez, who are you?

  13. Wonderful post interesting and your photos are amazing!

  14. Your photos are wonderful.

    We always have one of those spiders we feed each year. They do eat bugs so they are welcome here.

  15. Your post and your comments above are priceless especially Hubbybears - what a laugh the swallowtail butterfly is lovely :)
    Wren x