Have you ever wondered why it seems like there are more spider webs around this time of year? I’m not talking about the fake cobwebs people string up around their houses for Halloween, but real spider webs. On a recent trip to the coast, it struck me how many webs were out. Perhaps the eerie atmosphere created by the ocean mist put me in the mood for spiders, but I didn’t remember seeing quite so many earlier in the year. It turns out the webs you see in early autumn are spun by orb-weaving spiders, which reach maturity in late summer and early autumn. These spiders have spent the spring and summer months catching insects with smaller webs, tucked away, out of sight. Now that they’re bigger, they move to more open spaces to build larger webs, and are thus more conspicuous.

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Spider Web, Misty Forests, Olympic National Park

Spooky Spider : Prints Available

The misty forests along the coastline of Olympic National Park in Washington are the perfect place for spooky spiders to spin their webs. 

These webs are usually only up for a day or so, after which time the spider will eat its own web, and spin a new one overnight (in just half an hour!). With all this talk about spiders, I want to reassure you that at least in the Pacific Northwest (west of the Cascade crest), you need not be scared of spiders. Aside from the easily recognizable Black Widow, we only have one resident spider that is worth worrying about – the hobo spider – and even that is still disputed by scientists. Still, I think it’s safe to say that it’s best not to get bitten by a hobo (spider). (Note: Brown Recluses do not reside in the PNW). For more fun facts about PNW spiders, see the Seattle Times, and the Burke Museum’s exhibition.

I found this particular spider, patiently waiting in its web for unsuspecting prey, on my way to the beach along the Olympic National Park coast with Aubrey last week. After we arrived at the beach the mist gradually cleared, revealing the ancient sea stacks scattered throughout the bay.

Olympic National Park, Sun Burst, Coast

Sunburst : Prints Available

The sun bursts through early morning mist along the coast of Olympic National Park, Washington. 

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Second Beach, Mist, Olympic National Park

Sea Mists : Prints Available

Swirling mists reveal the imposing sea stacks at Second Beach in Washington's Olympic National Park.

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