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During a recent trip, my nephew pointed out a classic funnel web a spider had built in a bush. Funnel webs consist of flat sheets of webbing with a round tunnel that serves as a retreat.

A few hours later, he pointed out the spider.

 

Funnel web spiders look a lot like wolf spiders, but they have a different eye pattern (see BugGuide)

You can see a better photo of the web structure at Wikimedia.

If you are interested in spiders, I've read some great books lately. I found two new fiction children's picture books feature spiders as characters (reviewed at Wrapped in Foil) and also an adult nonfiction book, Amazing Arachnids by Jillian Cowles (reviewed at Wild About Ants.)

Have you seen any cool spiders lately?

Can you tell why I had trouble finding a bug for Bug of the Week by looking at this brittlebush flower?

It is wet from the cold rain we had overnight.

Because of the downpour, I knew I'd have to go farther and look harder to find live critters today. I flipped some rocks.

I did find a spider. It is hiding beneath a sheet of silk.

Wait. What's that bug on the right?

Ever seen one of these before?

Any idea what it might be?

I must admit I wasn't optimistic I would find much in our yard on January 3. It has been cold in the morning and insects aren't usually active when it's cold.

Wait. What's that tiny green thing?

It's a little praying mantis.

There's something in the brittlebush flower.

That's a crab spider with some prey.

What is this?

Although they look a bit like honey bees, these are flies. I didn't get a clear look, but probably flower flies in the family Syrphidae.

Not to shabby for a winter day.