My Favorite Spider

Let’s make one thing clear.


As a child I had night terrors, as well as nightmares where I would wake and still be partly dreaming. I would hallucinate-dream spiders crawling all over my bed. Thousands of them. I still vividly remember those images. It’s no wonder I developed a phobia. There have been a few instances where my phobia has embarrassed me horribly, like the time I walked into an orb weaver’s web and threw myself to the ground screaming and rolling around as if I was on fire. Yeah. Not my finest moment, though I can laugh about it now. I’ve never sought help for my phobia, nor do I plan to, but I have tried to ease the anxiety and fear over the years with my own self-directed CBT (cognitive behavior therapy). I can now say, with complete honesty, I have a favorite spider. Here he is:

Spiny-backed Orb Weaver on Web

Spiny-backed Orb Weavers are between 3 and 9 mm across, males being on the smaller side. I’ve been photographing them each September for the last three years. I use a macro lens on my phone, but I still have to get within a few millimeters to capture the perfect shot. It’s an anxiety producing experience. The first year I screamed in our backyard when the wind blew the web toward my phone! But, each year it gets easier, which means my CBT is working.

My shot for 2015

My shot for 2015


This was an oops shot

This was an oops shot

I look forward to these little spiders every year now. Who knew one day I’d have a favorite spider.

About Amanda Makepeace

Amanda Makepeace is an award winning illustrator inspired by nature, mythology, magical beings, and distant worlds. She is the co-founder of the Bird Whisperer Project, a monthly art challenge focused on spreading the the love of birds and art making for everyone. Her art has appeared in ENnie award-winning games and on the covers popular independant novels and anthologies. Her latest project is the cover art for the Long List Anthology Volume 4, a book featuring Hugo nominated stories. Amanda is a regular at Fantasy and SciFi conventions in the southeast, and an award winner at JordanCon, DragonCon, ChattaCon, and LibertyCon.
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  1. I love seeing your orb spider! Not keen on spiders myself either, but they fascinate me enough to keep me interested. I think it’s the webs that get me, since I, quite literally, stepped into one as a child…so I’m with you on that! Horrific experience!

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