Lake Country resident Julie jardine had a nice greeting from a new friend on July 25. (Julie Jardine)

What the heck is this? Smiling spider-crab-thing outside Okanagan home

Professionals and residents weigh in

There was an orange, multi-legged, crab-esque, spider-looking thing that smiled at a Lake Country resident as she went for a walk through her yard with her boyfriend’s daughter.

The woman, Julie Jardine, had never seen a spider quite like the one she saw on July 25.

“I thought it was pretty,” Jardine said. “It was really dormant—it didn’t move at all.”

Her post in Lake Country Rant and Rave garnered over 30 comments and even three “heart” likes.

By the end of the thread, it was concluded that the insect is a “garden orb weaver,” according to Brooke Turner; er… no wait—Lisa Daniel said it’s a “popcorn spider” and perhaps even a “good bug eater.” Jan Miller seemed to agree, writing, “Yes good spider, I have lots. They stay near their web all year and eat bugs. (It) won’t bother you!”

Wait, though: according to Lois Roper and Marian Thompson, it is an orb spider of some sort.

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But Lynn Mcglynn-Aisha said it belongs to the same family as a cats eye spider, which is her favourite spider. Sadly, though, commenter Seth Hudecz would try to stomp a spider that looked like the cat’s eye spider because “it doesn’t look nearly as happy as the other one.”

Nadine Kozub Enright wouldn’t: she said she loves them.

Chad Royer said it looks like an orangutang spider, cracker, or a crab and Roxy Reid would agree, saying it looks like a “broken Ritz cracker” and Ruth Pettipas would also agree, saying it’s a “spider crab.”

Robb Bennett, a research associate with the Royal BC Museum that specialized is arachnology (the study of spiders), concluded that it is an orb-weaving garden spider, under the category of Araneus spiders.

He said it is tough for him to distinguish what the exact species is, it looks to be a garden cross spider.

He said they are not dangerous to anyone, other than the things that they feed upon.

“Garden spiders are one of the most common types of spiders found around the world. In B.C., they are very common just about everywhere from sea level to high alpine,” Bennett said.

But Bennett, what about the smile?

“Lot’s of spiders have patterned abdomens and a few are famous for looking like smiley-faces, most notably the Hawaiian happy-face spider, Theridion grallator,” he said. “However, most garden spiders do not have smiley patterns!”

In 2017, Bennett concluded that there are 859 spider species confirmed from British Columbia.

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Since posting, the wee spider left its original abode, without warning Jardine; who now wears shoes when walking in her yard.

Perhaps, before science and knowledge and everything else that could identify this friendly neighbourhood spider tried to figure out what it was, it could be as simple as what Colby A. Still said it was:

“A friend.”



David Venn
Reporter, Kelowna Capital News
Email me at david.venn@kelownacapnews.com
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