The Six-Legged Spider / by Beth Winegarner

Photo by Flickr user  Kristy Johnson.

Photo by Flickr user Kristy Johnson.

For the past several weeks, we've had a number of orb weaver spiders in our yard. They build their webs in all sorts of improbable places: between two thin branches on a shrub, between the rosemary bush and the tea-rose bush, between one of the trees overhead and a stalk of dry foxtail grass in the dirt. 

The one spider who has stuck around the longest only has six legs, four on one side, and two on the other. It's missing two back legs on one side. I've never seen a spider missing legs like this before, although I'm sure it must happen -- amputations and accidents happen throughout the animal, insect and arachnid kingdoms. 

As I write this, the six-legged orb weaver has built its latest web between two of our clotheslines. It's been windy and rainy the past few days, but the spider isn't bothered. It's still there, ready to catch whatever flies into its web. 

I have to admit, I'm inspired by this little creature. It's missing a full quarter of its limbs, but it has built several webs in the yard, moving to new spots as it needs to. It's not giving up. It's just as able as a spider with a full complement of legs, and even more persistent.