A face only a mother could love….

Bold Jumper spider (Phidippus audax)

With the exception of the beloved children’s book Charlotte’s Web, the mere thought or surprise presence of a spider evokes fear in most of us. Where does this fear come from? If we were more informed, that fear might (ok, maybe not for all of us) be replaced with respect.

Spiders are scientifically classified as arachnids (Class Arachnida). They differ from insects (Class Insecta) in several key ways. Primarily, insects have three body sections (head, abdomen and thorax) and six legs.  Spiders have two body sections (cephalothorax and abdomen) and eight legs. The front part is a combination of the head and thorax – hence the name cephalothorax. This part usually bears four pairs of eyes, four pairs of walking legs, a pair of smaller leg-like palps at the front. The spinnerets, which secrete the silk web strands, are located at the rear of the abdomen.

I have always found jumping spiders to be quite comical and easy-going. Sort of a spider version of a teddy bear. The accompanying photo is a close up one of the many species of jumping spiders found in Ohio: the Bold Jumper (Phipippus audax). Bold jumpers are very active and have a cute way of facing AND approaching any movement – even me! While trying to get a close up, this specimen would lift its forelegs and try to touch the camera. It even tried jumping on for a ride. The act of jumping toward you should not be perceived as an act of aggression; they rarely bite unless handled roughly. They spin no web but rather stalk their prey. They do, however, put down a silk dragline wherever they go as a sort of safety line in case of a fall.

Educational opportunity

The Greene County Master Gardeners are offering the program, “All About Herbs” from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm on Saturday, August 11, 2012 at the Xenia Church of the Nazarene (1204 E. Second St., Xenia OH 45385 ). Speakers and topics include: “Edible Gardening: Herbs, Vegetables Fruits and More” by Debra Knapke, Garden Designer, Lecturer, Author, Teacher; “Cooking With Herbs” by Candace Rinke, owner of The Hawthorn Grill in Kettering; ” Herbs and Container Gardening” by Susan Tyree, Meadowview Growers; “Herbs – Learn, Explore, Grow” by Susan Liechty, Delaware County Master Gardener; and “Herb Garden Design” by Cindy Hill, Greene County Master Gardener. Click HERE for the registration brochure.

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