web of life

September 11, 2023  •  4 Comments

As the horrible day in American history - 9/11/2001 - is being remembered- I ponder life and its connections or webs that bring us together.  An example from nature is a spider we have been watching with interest, trying to avoid and keep from walking through its web that is tethered to our patio walls, which have become its patio walls and home.  Far from being an insect photographer, I sometimes cannot help myself and must observe and then pull out my cameras to see what can be caught.

Araneus gemmoides or the cat-faced spider, is part of a family of orb weavers.  The lifespan is said to be a few weeks, but this particular female must feel quite comfortable and happy here because we have been watching her for at least a month.  We know it is a female because of its very large abdomen, as you can see here.  She was skillfully moving around her web and drinking water from the strands.  The cat-faced spiders' legs are quite long and spindly, and although I did not capture her using her legs for weaving, you can see how see they are used to construct the web.  The photographs were made over three days and late evenings.  

spider, cat face 4spider, cat face 4


You can see how very delicate the fibers appear but they are incredibly strong.  The "hairs" on the spider are actually trichobothria or sensory organs. The abdomens has spinnerets or spigots from which the protein is emitted to create a silk that is so strong it withstands wind and rain, and human idiots walking through the web.

spider, cat face 2spider, cat face 2

spider, cat face 1spider, cat face 1

spider, cat face 5spider, cat face 5

And the pre-Halloween special is this odd image created with a flashlight after sundown.

spider, cat face 6spider, cat face 6

The reason it is called a Cat-Face spider

spider, cat face 3spider, cat face 3

Many thanks to Barbara F. R., Christina, Jean & Sam, TTT, Catherine, Pat L., Carolyn, Steve, and Lucia for commenting last week.  It looks like we may have, surprisingly, a rainy week in northern New Mexico, offering its own opportunities for photography.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©



Love those images. I have been one of those whose hair got caught by the incredibly strong web under the eaves of our house. They are magnificent arachnoids!
P Hundley(non-registered)
Incredible photographs!
Steve Immel(non-registered)
You've done a masterful job of photographing the Cat faced spider. Every image is tack sharp. How did you get so close? You must have a macro lens. I know little about spiders and nothing at all about this one, but you photographed it in such a fashion that she is a sympathetic character. And that's something I've never said about a spider. Perhaps her bulbous belly makes her appealing.

You have the gift of seeing what's around you. It's a rare ability and one I revere.
Holy smokes, how did you catch her so clearly? A miracle. SO COOL! makes one think twice about smashing spiders working their webs in our path
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