What would we do without spiders?

Spiders are a very important part of our ecological system.

  • Nov. 10, 2011 4:00 p.m.

All over the world, spiders rule. Love them or hate them, they are a very important part of our ecological system.

In fact, John Hancock (yes, he is a relative), who has written about and studied spiders most of his life, tells me that without these small natural wonders, our world  would eventually collapse.

All spiders here live on small   insects, and in our corner of the Alouette waterways we have many spider varieties.

One of the most common is the harvestman spider, standing tall on long spindly legs, its round body suspended over the ground as it  scurries about. It looks like a miniature robot.

Then there is the funnel weaver spider. Small and quick it likes to live under rotting wood, in old barns and at the bottom of broken wooden fences. It is related the hobo spider and the European house spider, but current  thinking suggests these spiders originated from the giant house spider in B.C. long before man settled here.

There are many forms of the black speckled jumping spider and the great hunter, the wolf spider, which you can find everywhere from the back garden to the river.

The wolf spider has incredible eyesight and lives and hunts alone, often laying in wait for its pray, or chasing it down for short distances before pouncing. They make small burrows, hidden by a trap door, and hide when a disturbance comes along, such as a dog or us humans.

There are misconceptions about the bite of a wolf spider. If you are unfortunate enough to be bitten by one here in Canada, unless you are allergic, the bite will itch and possibly swell, but you will live to tell the tale.

All spiders help keep insects down. Without them and the many other small creatures  along the riverbanks and in our gardens, who enjoy a mosquito or two, our food supply would be affected.

 

Liz Hancock is a member of the Alouette Management Society.

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