Here at Bolsa Chica most people think about the birds. Birds are great don’t get me wrong (I’m rather fond of them myself), but there are so many other types of wildlife that call Bolsa Chica home. One of them are spiders. There are two spiders that stick in my mind from my walks on the Mesa, and one of them is very easy for you to see.
Argiope argentata or Silver Garden Spider is a frequent sight which is easy for you to see in the prickly pear patch near the pocket wetland. These spiders weave their orb webs between pads of prickly pear and sit in the middle of it head down. These spiders are quite unique looking with their striped legs, ornate abdomen, and X shape with their legs while on their web. The females are larger than the males. These spiders weave a zigzag pattern out of thicker silk (a X-shaped stabilimentum) which helps identify it as a member of the garden spider family.
Phidippus johnsoni or Johnson Jumper is a jumping spider that I saw on some Russian thistle during the winter. These spiders do not weave orb webs but build tubular silk nests where they stay at night or in bad weather. They hunt by sight during the day and have been known to eat other spiders. These spiders are really small, and in my option, rather cute. The males have a completely red abdomen while the females have a black stripe down the middle of the red abdomen. I saw a female that day and her red abdomen contrasting with the rest of her black body was striking and memorable.