A Web search (pun intended) reveals that these are basilica spiders, so named because their webs purportedly resemble arching cathedral domes, although I fail to see a strong resemblance. I've had these spiders in my garden before, but this Spring they have taken over!
The spiders are only about an inch long, including legs, with a lovely green, white and yellow filigree design on their abdomens. Apparently the females have the green stripe, while the males have more yellow on their abdomens. I read that this design is intended to mimic an open mouth with tongue and fangs, presumably to ward off predators.
Unlike other spiders, the webs of basilicas are three-dimensional in shape, and they form an absolute maze of threads and anchor lines all going in different directions. The references say they often are found in groups in contiguous webs, and I can attest to that. My larger plants, such as a gorgeous bird's nest anthurium, are draped in a multi-level basilica condominium complex. I counted 15 basilicas in the anthurium alone!
|Maze of webs in anthurium|
But I have found that when I have a camera in front of my face, I lose my fear of spiders. With my little macro lens, I will even get right in THEIR face. Which is a good thing, because spiders really are cool creatures.
|Basilica spider duet|
Has anyone else experienced the Invasion of the Arachnid Army in their garden?