|Long-Jawed Orb Weaver Spider- Tetragnatha straminea|
Family Tetragnathidae - Long-Jawed Orb Weavers
Orb weaver Spider captures damselfly. Live adult spider photographed at DuPage County, Illinois.
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Larger spiders in this family are often found near water, especially moving water of rivers and streams. They build orb webs in the horizontal plane, often just inches above the surface of water where they can catch emerging insects like midges, mayflies, and stoneflies. Smaller species build webs in fields and meadows, often in trees and shrubs. 
This lovely female spider has managed to capture a damselfly for dinner. Many species in this family leave a hole in the center of their orb web, beside which they wait, and through which they can dart quickly to service clients on either side. Like most venomous spiders, they deliver a dose to immobilize their prey and begin the digestion process by liquifying the internal structures. Spiders are only capable of ingesting liquids.
Many species of long-jaws stand at the side of their web, keeping their legs on a radial spoke in order to detect vibrations that signal the arrival of prey. They are very adept at dropping out of sight at the slightest disturbance, or carefully camouflaging themselves, hiding in plain sight lined up with the long axis of a twig or grass blade.
Class Arachnida / Order Araneae: Spiders are the largest group of arachnids. They are easily recognized by their eight legs, and there are few creatures great or small that elicit such irrational fear in mankind. The vast majority of spiders are completely harmless and offer beneficial services, chief of which is keeping the burgeoning insect population in check. I am continually amazed at the resourcefulness of these supremely successful predators.
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