Meet “Spiny”

While walking the prairie meadow the other day, I came upon a strange sight … on a piece of prairie grass, there was a “blob” of something attached to the grass stem. As I got closer, it resembled an insect. As I looked it over, I discovered that it was a spider, one of our Spiny-Bellied Orb Weavers (Micrathena spp.):

Spiny-Bellied Orb Spider


This little guy could easily be overlooked. Measuring only a few centimeters in length, and curled up (temperature was 38°F and there was some frost in the area), it really didn’t look like a spider unless you took a close look at it. Here is another, closer look at Spiny:

Spiny-Bellied Orb Spider


I moved around to try to get a better angle of Spiny and found this to be about the best I could do. The early morning sun was shining brightly and gave a nice warming effect on Spiny. In this next image, you can see how Spiny gets his name:

Spiny-Bellied Orb Spider


Seems like every visit to this Prairie Meadow gives me something new to photograph! And we have another cold, frosty morning today, so you know where I’m headed right after I post this :o)

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