Saturday, 13 October 2012

Dapper spider

Unfailingly, house spiders, Tegenaria sp. males go on a walkabout this time of year looking for females. This male sat on our outside wall for a couple of days, all exposed. Love is a dangerous affair for spiders. After their last moult, when they reach maturity, they move often in the open, away from its silky shelter, where predation is more likely. This same week, flocks of Long Tailed Tits, and Coal Tits have roamed the garden, the latter paying special attention to walls, poking into holes while deftly holding onto the wall.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Loving the ivy

The late flowers of the ivy are a bug magnet in the autumn, when other sources of nectar are scarce. I have posted before on ivy fest season, but today I came across some new ivy visitors in a large ivy just starting to bloom in my local cemetery. Speckled Wood butterflies rarely visit flowers, as they usually feed on honeydew produced by aphids up in trees. So, I was pleasantly surprised to see two individuals feeding on ivy together with a Comma and many Droneflies.
Speckled Wood and Comma
Dronefly Eristalis tenax
Male wasp
Yellow dung fly?

Drinking spider

The sky was clear of clouds and the temperatures have come down in the night. A dew covers everything in the garden, including a female garden spider, Araneus diadematus, with a large, distended abdomen, nearly ready to lay eggs. She is hiding under her dry leaf retreat on the honeysuckle, and using her rear legs to collect the dropplets of dew on her abdomen. She repeatedly makes a brushing motion and then licks the tip of her leg.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Daddy superlong legs

Today's post celebrates harvestman season. This one, a male Leiobunum rotundum, sat on an outside wall, all outstretched legs. With an enormous leg span, well over 10 cm, it is amongst the longest legged harvestman in the UK. The species can be recognised by its dark mask around the eyes and contrasting black legs. Males have a rounded orange body, while females are brown-grey with a broad dark stripe along her back. The next photo gives you a idea of the relative size of the legs in proportion to the body.