OUTDOORS + RECREATION

Antelope Island’s spiders to be celebrated at festival

Jul 17, 2023, 3:00 PM

Spider web...

A Missouri Department of Conservation employee photographed a large orb weaver spiderweb while out on a trail near Springfield. (Missouri Department of Conservation/Facebook via CNN)

(Missouri Department of Conservation/Facebook via CNN)

SYRACUSE, Utah — Antelope Island is home to several insect species. The Western Spotted Orb Weaver is the island’s most commonly encountered spider.

The species is one of many celebrated at the Antelope Island Spider Festival, which takes place on July 29. From 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., guests can visit the Antelope Island Marina for spider-themed activities.

According to the Utah State Parks website, the festival will combine fun with education, offering activities from face painting to presentations.

Western Spotted Orb Weaver 

The Western Spotted Orb Weaver is the most commonly spotted spider at Antelope Island. 

Western Spotted Orb Weavers got their name from the circular shape of their webs, the shape which we most commonly associate with spider webs, according to the Utah State Parks website.

They build their webs wherever they can reach across two objects, often in sagebrush or across trails. The Utah State Parks website said the spiders, and their webs, are abundant on Antelope Island. 

Brine flies are a food source for the western spotted orb weavers. The flies are abundant at the Great Salt Lake, providing food for the spiders. The arachnids have also been seen eating other flying insects, such as butterflies, moths, dragonflies, damselflies, midges and mosquitoes. 

Western spotted orb weavers are shy, harmless spiders, according to Utah State Parks.

Despite their bright coloring, they are not harmful to humans or pets. Typically, they will drop from their web or flee at the sign of danger.

Although rare, the spiders can bite, and being bitten by one feels comparable to that of a bee sting. The arachnids will only bite if they feel threatened or trapped. 

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Antelope Island’s spiders to be celebrated at festival