Smiley Faced Spiders in Alabama

We have these spiders around the house with faces on them.  Seriously!

smiley face crab spider
smiley face crab spider

 This little one has a web on the bushes in front of the house.  It is a crab-like spiny orb weaver.  It has this yellow “shell”, like a crab, and its body is underneath.  The orb weaver spins a web in what I think is a perfect shape.  Unfortunately I couldn’t get a photo of the web, so just enjoy the spider.  They also come in white.  In Sarasota, the were white with red markings.  They made their webs everywhere.  One had a web between the two wires connecting our house to the electric pole by the street.  That web stayed there for months.  We also had them between the house and the neighbor’s fence, and the bushes along the lanai and the lemon tree which was several feet away.  The boys and their friends loved playing hide-and-seek or chasing each other around the house during light-saber battles.  I was always grossed out thinking that one of them ran through a web and may have had a spider on him.  Or, the spider simply could have been a broken part of the web and retreated to a safe place.  I hadn’t seen a yellow crab spider before moving to Alabama. 

The other spider with a smiley face on it, creating webs around the house, is the orchard spider.  I couldn’t get my camera to focus on the spider so you’ll have to do an internet search for a picture.  The site I recommend is this:  The vertical spider on the bottom row of pictures is the best example of what we have in our bushes.  This spider sits upside down on its web so that the red smile and eyes are facing outward and upward.  At first we couldn’t figure out what kind of spider this was.  We had killed a black widow and her egg sacs in the garage shortly after our move here so that red spot was fresh on our minds.  Without knowing its name or having an idea of what to call it, spiders can be hard to research on the internet.  I finally stumbled on it but not before finding out about lots of other smiley face spiders.

With all of these smiles around us, we have a very happy home.

There is one spider native to Hawaii that is actually cute.   It is the Theridion Grallator or happy face spider.   It is not harmful to  people, lives in the Hawaiian rainforest but is on the endangered list because of non-native animals on the islands.  This spider is really small, too.  You can find some great pictures by searching the internet:  “Hawaiian smiley face spider images”.   

Edited 2/24/10:  I saw that is site was recently visiting my blog.  It’s so cool, so check it out: