H and I rode our bikes out to the Great Salt Lake today along the frontage road that starts out by the airport and continues out to the marina. Upon reaching the marina, we walked out to the point and were dumbstruck by the number of spiders that had holed up in the rocks making cobwebs and likely feasting on the large numbers of brine flies (Ephydridae) at the waters edge and growing quite large from the looks of it. When I say there were lots of spiders, I mean, I have never in my life seen such an accumulation of spiders… And they were *HUGE*. It was horrifying really, like something right out of a movie. If you cast your shadow just right, you could make hundreds of spiders all move and scramble for cover.
I think they are from the family Theridiidae or cobweb spiders (a huge family of spiders). If anyone can refine the identification, I’d appreciate it. (UPDATE 08/29/11): That did not take long. Melissa Hardy sent this link confirming the identity of these spiders as Neoscona crucifera. Thanks Melissa!
Its hard to appreciate how many spiders and spider webs are there from this picture. I was grabbing shots with my iPhone, so I did not have the flexibility of an SLR with a zoom or macro lens, but all the rocks out there were just covered with cob webs and thousands of spiders.