Saturday, 18 September 2010

Camera Critters #128 Spiders


 Thanks go to Misty Dawn who hosts this meme. Click here to see more camera-worthy critters.
The European garden spiders (Araneus diadematus) are busy everywhere spinning their delicate death traps for unwary insects. Are they stocking up their larders or preparing packed lunches for a day out?
This very common orb-weaving spider is also known as the diadem spider or cross spider. Its colouring varies from very pale yellow to extremely dark grey but all members have mottled markings on their backs with five or more large white spots forming a cross. They have been known to stridulate when threatened and while they are not aggressive, a bite from them is a little unpleasant but quite harmless to humans.
The female spins the web and rests head down waiting for prey to stumble into her sticky silken snare. Quickly she captures and wraps her victim before consuming it. 
Every night she eats her web with any remaining small prisoners - this takes about two minutes - and the next morning she spins a fresh web. On fine September mornings it is a joy to walk in open spaces and see hundreds of dew-bejewelled webs shimmering in the sun.
Araneus diadematus will die in late autumn. Before this she will have mated with one of the much smaller males - they must approach carefully at risk of death - and build a silken cocoon in which she lays her eggs. The spiderlings will hatch the following May.

21 comments:

  1. Great pictuers, but they gave us the creepies!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

    Nubbin wiggles,
    Oskar

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  2. What a fascinating post...and the photos are SO good that I almost felt "crawly" looking at them!

    I learned lots about spiders and I always love learning new things. For example, that she eats her web every day is something I did not know. I wonder if all spiders do that?

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  3. Great shots and info. It's amazing how something we see as frightening can spin a web which we find so beautiful and interesting.

    Darryl and Ruth : )

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  4. Not my favorite camera critter, but great photography.

    Kay
    Alberta, Canada

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  5. Oh it's almost spider time here. We get large garden spiders, I have no idea of their technical name as I don't like to get too close to them. I have to take a brush and waft it before me before I go out into the back yard. I also have to shake out the newspaper before I bring it in to the house. There might even be a scorpion (just little ones) in the paper in the dry weather.

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  6. I like the colours on this arachnid. Hope none of her small prisoners go by the name Frodo.

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  7. This summer we are having a plethora of spiders here in Canada. They are EVERYWHERE! Going thru the bank drive thru is like going into a cave - they are attracted to the light (or rather their food is) so the ceiling is covered with them as is the banking machine. They are all over the house, and indoors too. I can appreciate them when I don't feel so outnumbered!

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  8. We have many spiders here and yours are just lovely. Thanks for the info on them - great stuff!

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  9. Wow - great shots! I love seeing all the diamond necklaces that the spider webs make in the early mornings.

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  10. This is very interesting. Just last night a friend and I were talking about animals that elicit high levels of fear. For some it's snakes, others rats, and for her it is spiders. She would not enjoy this post. But I did!

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  11. I suffer from arachniphobia so I had to whiz past your photos. Sorry.

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  12. Yikes! I haaaaate spiders. The kids and I went to the zoo this weekend, and guess what they watched, sitting on a wall -- the spiders! And a chipmunk digging through a trash bin -- and ducks flying over head. Pffft.

    I wish my photos had turned out as beautifully as you shot these -- they're excellent!

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  13. I'm not a fan of the spider, but enjoyed your post. They are certainly interesting creatures. Great pics!

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  14. I like looking at pictures of spiders though I'm not very fond of the real thing.
    Great photography!

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  15. Watching spiders at work is very interesting. As you know, I've done it myself ;-)
    Yesterday in Mara's garden I almost got to know some HUGE ones of different varieties a little too well. I managed to prevent them from running up my legs and arms. Poor creatures. They were very disturbed by all the pruning going on.
    Love the last shot, with the cross clearly showing.

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  16. I enjoyed this post. Neat photos and great information!

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  17. I agree with BJ! I am not a big fan of spiders but I like seeing the webs and photos of them. Well done!

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  18. Nice shots of the spiders and webs. I enjoy seeing the webs with morning dew, but I didn't know she was preparing the evening meal.

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  19. Very nice macros. Especially enjoyed the accompanying info. This blogger geek soaks up that type of stuff! (I guess spiders don't need "women's lib".)

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