Remember the tiny, mysterious creatures from Weekly Photo Challenge: Threes? While I was busy tracking down an identification, they were busily weaving away:
…but what exactly ARE they?
Google research didn’t get me far, so I reached out to George Rogers, Ph.D., co-author of Treasure Coast Natives and Chairman of Horticulture at Palm Beach State. He relayed my photos to Bill Schall in the Palm Beach County Horticulture Extension Office, and to John Bradford, his TCN co-author and avid naturalist. On the evening of 2/26, Bill sent the following via email:
It is a small, non poisonous spider probably of the species Neoscona arabesca, also known as the Arabesque Orbweaver. Not sure if the common name is any easier than the scientific name! Maybe just remember Orbweaver. The symmetrical suspended white structures are the insect prey enveloped by the spider webbing. These spiders are very common in southern Florida. Thanks to Dr. Bill Kern for the identification. – Bill
The next photo, taken in bright sunlight an hour ago, better illuminates the captured prey:
Big “ups” to George, John, and the Bills, for solving my little mystery. At this point I’d be remiss for not mentioning the GREAT photography at The Trail to the River, John Bradford’s blog about the nature trails in Savannas Preserve State Park. Do check it out when you get a chance!
Switching gears to this week’s photo challenge…
As so often happens, I have the PERFECT subject for this week’s topic, but it requires a bit of backstory.
Last fall, Maggie wanted to plant sweet potatoes in big sacks, so I bid on a seed potato during our November Plant Auction. When I got home, I set it at the edge of the patio garden, assuming she’d grab it over Thanksgiving…but she forgot. No biggie, I figured, she’ll take it on my birthday in 2 weeks. Nope! Forgotten again! Soon it was Christmas, and we BOTH forgot….then the New Year came and went….but the potato stayed…You see where this is going!!!!???!!!
So I’m outside in the yard a few days ago, and notice some gorgeous leaves:
Assuming they were morning glories I planted wayyyyyyy back when, I followed the length of the vine to determine if the origin point was where i thought it should be….
What just caught YOUR eye (opposite the red-edged canna leaf) caught mine at the time, so I spread the leaves to investigate:
Oh NO!!!! Our abandoned sweet potato! It sure seems healthy, despite the cold and neglect!
I’m not a vegetable gardener because I REALLY dislike eating vegetables! Just the smell of sweet potatoes, or cabbage or carrots–any of them–boiling on a stove makes me gag (seriously!) But seeing it got this far….what happens next? Will it somehow grow potatoes, or did I miss the opportunity? I tried lifting it up but it’s rooted (very strongly) to the ground beneath: is this where the potatoes grow, off that taproot? Yes, I’m aware I’m embarrassing myself! Of course, I posed the same slew of questions to Maggie. Her reply? “I have NO clue..I never even bought the sacks!”
Potato AND project completely abandoned!
Until next time…..
🙂 🙂 🙂