It was only recently, within the last couple of years, that I realized we actually have a spider season in South Florida. (And people say we don't have seasons here!) It is true that you can find spiders of various kinds all over, all year long. But during the hottest couple of months of the year, i.e. August and September, the woodland nature trails and nearby areas become really loaded with golden orb spiders in their webs. These can be pretty large spiders--it's not uncommon to see one about 3 inches across. The webs are often built between different branches, and can span surprisingly large gaps. So it's not unusual to look up and see spiders apparently just hanging in the sky (as in the picture at right). Sometimes there are several webs right in the same area, like a spider condo. They're really pretty fascinating, so I decided I wanted to get some close-up pictures.

The pic at left was taken at Delray Oaks on Sept. 3, 2010. The large spider at the bottom is the female. Notice the golden abdomen and interesting patterns of spots. The little spider on top is the male. I'm not really sure how that works out.

One week later, at Gumbo Limbo nature center, there were so many spiders along the nature trail that I saw people have to leave because they were so creeped out. Here's another "spiders in the sky" pic from there:

At right, a spider makes a meal of a katydid.

And below, this one has a large web that you can see really well.

At left, another one where you can see the web pretty well. The spider herself is seen at a bit of an angle rather than straight on.

The pic at right was an attempt to show the extent of one of the "spider condos." There is of course the one real obvious spider, and about 3 smaller ones recognizable as spiders. But actually every little dark spot in the picture is a spider.

Here you can see the reddish underside of the spider.

At right is a different kind of spider (obviously). This is a crab spider taken at Green Cay on Sept. 16, 2010. I haven't seen many of the golden orb spiders at Green Cay, probably because there isn't that much wooded area there. But these crab spiders are pretty common all around here all year round. They're small spiders, only about 1/2 inch across. So small, in fact, you probably wouldn't notice the interesting markings. Looks kinda like a smiling face, doesn't it?

So, here we are, a couple days later, back at Delray Oaks. More spiders in the sky. Got quite a few real decent shots this time:

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