Sunday, December 19, 2010

Regal and Ivy - garden orb weaver joys

I have been watching two of the garden orb weavers (Eriophora biapicata) in particular. Regal and Ivy - both named for the type of pelargonium they have chosen to live in. Regal was introduced in the first post (Dec 4) and featured on Dec 7. Ivy is smaller and a bit lighter in colouring. The trouble has been that I just haven't been able to find Ivy's resting place, despite many attempts to do so. I could see her web, and watch her each night, but she was just too well hidden in the leaves during the day.

Tonight I went out at dusk and watched and waited. One of the dead leaves stood up. I had found my spider:

By clicking on the image, you will find her easy to see.

She has a vertical main thread on which she posed beautifully to have her photograph taken. You can see four of her tiny, fairly ineffective, eyes on the front of her head.

Meanwhile, Regal had rested very comfortably (or so it looked) all day. She is getting a little darker as her leaf dries up:

Tonight, Regal emerged and went straight to the remains of a shrouded fly which had been in the remains of her web all day. She decided to finish off her leftovers before taking down the web to make a new one. Leftovers first:

And then it was time to take down the old web and start again. But a web is protein and a spider needs a lot of protein, so Regal didn't just drop it. The debris was dropped to the ground, and the web pulled in systematically and eaten. Here she is, pulling it in and eating the silk.

Every night, without fail, my orb weavers are doing something interesting. Free entertainment. Love them!

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