Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author


Must be fall …

So, I realize that OTHER people will have “I can tell it’s fall because of these beautiful leaves” types of posts, but *I* can tell it’s fall because yesterday — just in one day! — I captured and released THREE of these big guys:


This one is pictured outside, which is certainly a superior environment for spiders. I hope my little pets are all happy outside, though probably they came in for a reason since it is getting pretty chilly. Tough. Out!

I can’t squish them, though. They are too big. I can’t bring myself to squish things that are, what? about an inch long? Longer? Besides, I like spiders, especially wolf spiders like the one above. My favorites are the tiny little wolf spiders that jump.

I do kill brown recluses, though. We get lots of them in the spring. They’re mostly harmless because they’re so reluctant to bite, but, you know, puppies.

One of the other insects of fall is much more entertaining than spiders. Do you get these?

Stick insect

Around here, they seem to turn up at the tag end of summer. Their camouflage is not very effective when they walk up a cream-colored wall, but then birds are pretty unlikely to find them under those circumstances, I suppose.

I like them. They don’t have the predatory elegance of preying mantises or the charm of syrphid flies, but they’re interesting. If they get in the way, I just pick them up and toss them into the woods. Someone asked me a few weeks ago if they bite. No. The ones we get around here are completely harmless. They are too rigid to even manage to turn around. You just pick them up exactly like the sticks they resemble, except more gently of course, and toss them out of the way.

Update: here’s an example of a syrphid fly, also called hover flies because (obviously) they can hover.


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6 Comments Must be fall …

  1. Craig

    I prefer leaves to insects (fine, fine — to arthropods of any sort) as a symbol of fall.

    Also, “the charm of syrphid flies”? There are charming flies?

  2. Rachel

    Well, I do spend more time admiring the foliage than the critters, but still.

    Syrphid flies are little wasp mimics that are totally harmless and rather pretty. I did a project on them when I was in grad school, and it left me fond of them, especially since they never bite or fly into your face.

  3. Robert+Massey

    Cool spider! I’m an arachnophile which seems to be a pretty rare thing. The stick insect is cool, too. I don’t see many of them around here, but then … unless they were in my house, how would I know? The trees could be covered in them!

    @Craig: Yes, there are charming flies. Dragonflies and damselflies are like beautiful flying jewels.

  4. Craig

    Still not sold on “charm,” but I’ll readily concede to liking dragonflies on both aesthetic and practical grounds.

  5. Cheryl L

    It’s nice to know that there are some other people in the world who find spiders (and insects in general) interesting rather than horrifying.

  6. Rachel

    Yep, arachnophile here, too. Granted, I’m not keen on flipping the sheets back and finding a spider on my pillow, but *basically*, I like spiders.

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