Monday, December 7, 2015

My garden orb weavers

This is the first of the introductions to the regulars for this summer. I have found two garden orb weavers this year, both Eriophora pustulosa (family Araneidae). These are distinguished by three little bumps on the end of their abdomens.

Erik-Rose is on the rose bushes. She is brownish. Erio-birch is on the white-barked birch tree. She is much paler. They vary colour greatly depending on where they rest during the day. Despite intense searching, I haven't managed to find the resting place for either. Yet!

They are both still very small, less than a centimetre in body length. My hope is that both will make it to adulthood. Well, they've got this far. I shall keep you updated with their progress. But first, their photos. Click on the images to enlarge them.

Erik-Rose is hanging in the typical pose in the web. They always hang face down.

She wasn't impressed with my light and flash and presence. She pulled in her web and wound it up and headed back into the rose bush. She then sat and ate the ball of silk. She couldn't afford to waste all that protein! I have seen this before. I shall have to be more subtle. This is a moment after she pulled in the web - it happened very fast. She's heading off.

This is Erio-birch looking very like every Eriophora. She's actually much paler than Erio-rose, but it doesn't show here. She's also much less concerned about my presence.

Tonight, Erio-birch had moth stew for dinner.

The other regulars include two black house spiders, one American common house spider and one little hump-backed spider. More about them next time! 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Back in action

I have submitted the manuscript for my next book The Memory Code to my publisher, Allen & Unwin, and can finally get back to blogging my precious spiders.

I have been delighted with the number of comments on this blog and emails I have received, many with photos and even videos. A number of American correspondents are writing with stories of golden orb weavers (Nephila sp.) and yellow and black spiders (Argiope sp.) and their golden egg sacs as the spider season in the US is drawing to a close. Ours is just starting here in Australia.

Poppy has sent me a number of videos and photographs of Charlotte, the golden orb weaver who is almost certainly one of the species Nephila clavides. The videos are amazing as Charlotte is tossed around in the wind but still catches the grasshopper Poppy has tossed into her web. Poor grasshopper! Like Poppy, I do feel sorry for it, but such is the way of the world.

Here are some stills from Poppy's video. I think there are two Charlottes. Poppy may explain more!

The University of Florida has a great page on Nephila clavides - just click on this sentence.

This is a link to the blog I wrote about the golden orb weavers in Castlemaine, Nephila edulis, a few years ago. 

I would be delighted to receive more photos. I love getting comments. And I shall soon add photos and stories of my spiders. Just comment below and I will tell you how to send photos.

Meanwhile - it is good to be back!