Night Crawler

By staff October 1, 2004

The pale longjawed orbweaver is slender, elegant, and exquisitely creepy, the Vincent Price of the spider world.

Like most spiders, it has eight eyes, and a hard exoskeleton, which it has to shed from time to time in order to grow. It lives on cattails and low branches overhanging creeks and rivers, which makes it the spider most likely to drop into your canoe and precipitate a mass exodus in midstream.

But don't worry. To us thick-skinned humans, this attenuated arachnid is entirely harmless. Shy and secretive, the longjawed orbweaver remains hidden during the day. At night, it weaves a horizontal web to snare small insects. In the morning it does its best disappearing act, stretching full length along the nearest twig, pretending to be part of it.

You could say it's a remarkable performance-convincing and wooden at the same time.

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