Sunday 2 October 2011

The tangled web...

In my garden this week I spotted this rather sinister spider

This little beastie had spun a big web between my "Cobra" climbing beans and the Buddleia. I had a close look at the web in the morning when it was new (I even tried without success to get a good photo of it), and by the evening the web had fulfilled its purpose - it had ensnared a prey insect.

The web looks a bit ragged now, but the insect is well and truly smothered in it.  The spider waiting in the wings will soon be enjoying a substantial meal!

I think the victim looks a bit like a roosting bat!

Here's another shot of the "Web Designer"!

By the following morning, the prey had been moved into the spider's lair under a bean leaf, and the damaged web had been repaired. We can now see that the victim is a Shield Bug.

Here is the spider tucking into its meal:

Is it just my imagination, or has it put on a lot of weight in the last 24 hours??

On a different theme...  Do you remember those strange Earth Ball fungi "Scleroderma Verrucosum" that I wrote about a few weeks ago? Well, some of them are splitting open now. The scaly, leathery outer skin is peeling back to reveal the soft sac inside. It has a sort of navel, through which its spores will be ejected when the time comes. The way in which the outer skin splits always seems to result in a 5-pointed shape, hence another name for this fungus is "Earth Star".


  1. The spider is a garden spider - we once filmed one building it's web on the window of a cottage we were renting. It was fascinating to watch - if you visit my website it's in the wildlife section.

    Great photos of the ensnaring process

  2. Thanks Sue! You are a veritable mine of useful information.

  3. Loved reading about the "Web designer". As for the earth balls, I've never seen them before.

  4. That spider really did get fat, and I'll remember that insects are fattening and steer well clear of them in future.

  5. I love spiders. Your photos and commentary are gorgeous.

  6. Great post Mark! I love discovering spiders in my garden and watching them spin and respin their webs after catching a meal. Lovely pictures too!

  7. My son (almost 2) is obsessed with 'piders' at the moment so I have to say I've been paying them much more attention that normal - partially to make sure they're not red backs but mostly because they really are fascinating. I'll have to show him your pics - he'll be very excited.

  8. Wow the spider meal is almost as big as the spider. What a big appetite.

  9. That's fascinating, and yes, the prey does look like a roosting bat. Those fungi look like something you'd see on Dr.Who.


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