Park Alert...

Spiders, Spiders Everywhere

March 2021

By Ranger Amy

I don’t think about spiders too often. As a park ranger, I’m used to spiders. When I encounter a spiderweb across my face or in my hair, it’s second nature to utter an apology to the spider and keep doing whatever I was doing.

Until one encounters a spider, they usually go unnoticed. But spiders are essential predators in the web of life.

Forest floor with spider webs scattered across

One dewy morning, I noticed spiderwebs everywhere. Most were along the forest floor, the dew making them look like thin veils of fabric. Everywhere I looked there was a web.

Sheet webs

Spiders spin five different types of webs. Each web is unique to the habitat and lifestyle of those spiders. The spiderwebs that I spotted all over the forest floor are sheet webs.

Single sheet spiderweb on the forest floorThe spider will spin the sheet part of the web and a few horizontal strands above it. An unknowing insect will fly into the horizontal strands and fall onto the sheet. Once the insect is on the sheet, it’s mealtime for the spider!

There are many different species of sheet spiders. Some are as tiny as a pointy end of a pencil. Sometimes sheet spiders wander the forest floor, hunting insects they encounter.

It's a jungle out there!

The forest floor may seem quiet and peaceful, but there’s a whole “jungle” of life down there. Sheet spiders are the great predators, the kings of the jungle.