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Cross Orbweaver spider

Howdy everyone! Let’s get to business: Lingcod and rockfish are good to very good both in the deep water and closer to shore. Surf perch seems to be picking up lately on our beaches. Rockfish in the bay is good to great depending on the day and bay crabbing is what you make of it. If you work hard you’ll be rewarded with Dungeness and some giant red-rock but you will have to make pulls and move your pots when you hit a dry spot with few crab. Ocean crabbing is now closed until December the first. This closure is for regular routine maintenance where the ODFW gets out and services all the crab, cleaning and detailing them and changing their fluids. I may or may not have made that part up but ocean crabbing really is closed until the first of December. Bay crabbing remains open all year long.

Normally when my article topic is about an animal it’s something we fish, hunt, or eat. This week’s topic is an animal but definitely not one we eat. This morning I walked into a giant spider web made by a cross orb weaver and let me tell you this first-hand: When you think you have gotten all the web off of your face you haven’t really, keep trying, there’s more.

Apparently I had a piece of web and a pine needle stuck on my mustache all morning. Lucky me. I’ve been seeing a lot of these spiders around here lately and they are as beautiful as they are creepy. These orange and yellow critters seem to magically appear in their giant webs overnight, poised and ready to stick to my face.

Originally from Western Europe this spider has made itself right at home in North America and there are not many states, territories, or provinces that it does not call home. The “cross” part of its name comes from the white markings on its abdomen that sometimes form a perfect little white cross but this is not always the case as evidenced by the picture accompanying this story. The “orb” part of its name refers to the circular patterned web it weaves to stick to my face.

Late summer and into the fall is when we see these spiders appear in the largest numbers. A “trapper” spider as opposed to the more aggressive “ambush” spider the cross orb weaver will put on an amazing show if you catch a live fly or moth and throw it into its web. With only a moment of hesitation the spider will locate its prey and deliver a toxic bite which immobilizes its victim and allows it to wrap it in a cocoon of silk for a later meal. If this freaks you out just think of it as spider “Tupperware.”

Only the female of the species spin their beautiful webs and they often dismantle them each day by eating most of it and then rebuilding a new one. This is often caused by watching too many home improvement shows on TLC and never feeling their web is “just right.”

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After mating in late summer the male cross orb weaver is usually eaten by the female (note to guy spiders: STAY SINGLE) which will then lay a cocoon of eggs under cover of leaves or some other suitable place a short distance away from its web. When the young hatch she will provide food for them in the spider Tupperware we talked about earlier.

These amazing and prolific harbingers of fall will live for about a year and are very docile and not at all harmful to us or our pets so don’t knock em’ down, just go around and enjoy another of the amazing animals we share our beautiful Bay Area with.

Whether you are picking spider webs off your face or getting ready for our next fishing season, I hope to see you out there.

Rob Gensorek is the owner of Basin Tackle www.basintackle.com in the Charleston Marina and can be reached by phone at (541) 888-FISH, by Facebook at Basin Tackle Charleston, or e-mail at basin_tackle@yahoo.com. Rob’s fishing reports can be heard daily at 6:20 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. on KRSB Best Country 103 out of Roseburg and his Basin Tackle Outdoor Show can be heard Wednesdays at 3 p.m. and Saturdays at 6 a.m. at kwro.com. In addition to all this, he sometimes actually gets out and catches a fish or two.

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