Thứ Ba, 12 tháng 3, 2013

Garden Orb spider

This brightly coloured beauty comes in a variety of shades of orange and brown, and is characterised by the pattern of white dots on its back which resemble a cross. The minutely spiny legs are banded light and dark. Seen here at the centre of a 300mm circular web spun vertically between the leaves of Iris by the garden pond, this female (body length 13mm) was ready to react to any fly that became snared on the web. Small prey were taken back to the centre of the web and devoured on the spot. Larger prey were taken off to a more secure food cache in the event that the web would need to be rebuilt. The much smaller and less spectacular males might be found around the periphery of the web waiting to scavenge any leftovers. In some cases the female takes up a rather less conspicuous position outside the web but maintains contact through a 'signal thread' that returns vibrations from the centre of the web. At rest, after a full meal or pending a web rebuild, these spiders will often be found with their long legs tightly tucked up close to the body. This is a common and widespread species that can be found throughout the northern hemisphere.

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