If spiders creep you out you may want to stop viewing this post now but if you like all creatures of the natural world please continue.
Today is the day for SpiderFest on Antelope Island State Park, a celebration of the interesting spiders that live on the island. Experts from the Natural History Museum of Utah and Hogle Zoo will be joining park staff members to help educate visitors about all the spiders on the island and it is kid friendly!
Around July the spiders on the island become more noticeable and by August you can find them and their webs all over the place. The spiders I see most often on Antelope Island are Western Spotted Orbweavers and I love to photograph them. They were the first spiders I photographed on the island and that was before I even moved to Utah.
Female Western Spotted Orbweavers are large, about 11-17 millimeters in body length. I see the females more often than I see males but perhaps that is because they are larger and more visible.
Each Western Spotted Orbweaver has a unique pattern of dorsal spots but the ventral spots are very much alike.
Female Western Spotted Orbweavers create a silken sac to lay her eggs in and the spiderlings will remain in that sac until the next year and when it warms up they will emerge. Adult Western Spotted Orbweavers do not overwinter.
Male Western Spotted Orbweavers are smaller than females, they are about 5-12 millimeters in body length and their abdomens are smaller than the abdomens of females too.
So why am I interested in these spiders even though I am a bird photographer? Well, I think they are beautiful, fascinating creatures but when you think about it….
They are also bird food.
Life is good.
Local friends, there is no additional cost for the SpiderFest event but normal park fees still apply. The event hours are 10 am to 4 pm.