Though mist usually softens details in the landscape, sometimes it reveals that which is often hidden in plain sight. We might imagine a few spiders living in a wild area, but the actual number boggles the mind when one sees so much evidence of their creativity. The art work of countless spiders covers this bridge along the Salt Marsh Trail. Swarms of mosquitoes are often present around the bridges, so the plentiful food supply probably warrants the building of so many webs.
Webs are also found on grasses, trees and other plants. The tiny droplets of mist outline their delicate framework.
Webs made of an even finer filament cover the rocks that line the trail. Each cluster has a tiny hole where the spider can crawl beneath the rocks for shelter in the heat.
How can these spiders survive the tidal surges and flooding that are part of the marsh environment? It so happens that marsh spiders can survive in the water for up to 36 hours, which is about 12 hours longer than your average woodland spider. They can also shut down any bodily functions that require air for several hours, which means that even after ‘drowning,’ they are able to come back to life.
The spider shown at left was one of many I saw near the salt marsh behind Silver Sands Beach. It’s probably similar to those found along the Salt Marsh Trail.
The spiders found in Nova Scotia should be appreciated rather than feared. These artistic creatures provide a valuable service by consuming so many of the mosquitoes that actually pose a greater threat to our health.
For more on spiders, see Weaving Wisdom into Nature.