Monday, 7 January 2008

Common but not ordinary

I like lichen, and the old apple tree is covered in a multicoloured carpet. After taking some photos I walked away, felt the spider in my hair and reacted of course, flicking it away. Then I decided to find it to see if I'd escaped death by a narrow margin.
The photo below was taken on the ground before the spider moved onto a small stick and curling up to an inconspicuous knot. I lifted the stick up and returned the spider to the apple tree, and it immediately moved to a patch of lichen and sat immobile. I would have had great difficulty seeing it if I didn't know where it was.
It's a Garden Orb-weaving Spider Eriophora biapicata. This species is common and can be identified by the humps on its back, and the bright red base of its legs. Its main claim to fame is that it builds a large circular web at dusk (usually, in my garden, in the path of a certain husband organising the rubbish bins) and devours it at dawn, repeating the process the following night. They rarely bite by the way, and if they do it's not usually a problem so my life was not under threat.

Garden Orb Spider

Garden Orb Spider

Garden Orb Spider

1 comment:

Duncan said...

Our garden is full of orbies at the moment Boobook, often walk into them in the dark. Getting into bed last night, I picked up my book from the bedside table and the mother of all White-tails scampered over my hand on to the floor. Wasn't game to tell my wife!


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