Hunting spiders in Ohio? Check out these amazing creatures

Hunting spiders in Ohio?  Check out these amazing creatures

A female white-banded hunting spider guarding her nest.

Arachnophobia, the irrational fear of spiders, is widespread. Some estimates claim that about 6% of the population suffers from arachnophobia. If you’re one, I apologize for this column. But you may have already stopped reading.

Spiders are all around us. About 650 species are found in Ohio alone. There are many species, most likely, present on your property and in your home. In warm seasons, a light rain of spiders falls into the air. They disperse to new terrain shortly after hatching by “ballooning”. They send out a silken thread that catches the breeze and lifts them high. Fortunately for people with arachnophobia, these spiders, and the vast majority of spiders, are never seen by most people.

Spiders are an important part of food webs—both as predators and prey—and engage in amazing behaviors. Many are artistically painted in garish colors, or ornate in their markings. Their production and use of silk is highly advanced, and some species have the ability to spin incredibly complex webs.

Jim McCormack, natural historian and columnist, is retiring from ODNR.  Photographed at ODNR headquarters on Tuesday, November 29, 2016. (Columbus Dispatch photo by Fred Squillante)

White-banded hunting spider

On September 7, 2013, I was with a group of colleagues late at night in the wilds of Adams County. We were looking for caterpillars and therefore inspecting the plants with flashlights. Suddenly, my beam picked up the eye shine of a large spider about 20 feet away and eight feet away in a tree with red buds. I climbed up some logs to get to the spider’s level, and enjoyed the sight of a tarantula-sized web spider guarding the nest.

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