- October 14, 2011 - Insectarium
Updating: Septembre 28, 2017
In Québec, we share our homes and environment with 677 species of spider. Not one of them is dangerous. This is an ode to some local unsung heroes.
The queen on your balcony
In the past few weeks, have you noticed a large brown spider with beige spots spinning her spiral web near your home? You sometimes have to pull the web down because it is blocking your way. But—surprise!—there she is again the next morning, looking stout and regal in the centre of her web, just like yesterday... The expert weaver responsible for this masterpiece is the diadem spider, a common garden species. When her web is damaged, the diadem spider eats the silk to recycle it as she spins a new one. And so the mystery of the reappearing spiderweb is solved!
Has a long-legged spider taken up residence in a dark corner of your basement? This is a cellar spider, which weaves a tangled web—her home, where she lays in wait, hanging upside-down. To avoid being eaten by other spiders (which is a definite possibility!), she uses an unusual strategy: she shakes her web violently for a few minutes to discourage her enemy, which, unable to properly target its prey, goes somewhere else to hunt. You just need to touch a cellar spider’s web to witness this curious demonstration!
Voracious and useful
Did you know that many species of spider don’t weave webs? Jumping spiders, wolf spiders, crab spiders and fishing spiders prefer to roam. Like eight-legged cats, they hunt by stealth. Since so many of them eat insects, spiders control their populations. When you allow them to set their traps in your garden, on your hedges or along the walls of your house, you allow them to fulfil this valuable role while benefiting from the fact that they are eating plenty of mosquitoes and flies in the vicinity.
A spider on the ceiling...
…of the Insectarium! Throughout October, spiders are being showcased at the Insectarium with the programming Spiders unmasked which consists of several activities calling attention to their fascinating behaviors.
The next time you see a spider, will you dare move a little closer to observe its fascinating behaviour?