Tuesday 16 September 2014

Hawthorn shieldbug and garden spiders

 At this time of year it is hard not to notice Araneus diadematus, the garden spider. You walk through their orb webs when walking on paths with many hanging by each other by the dozens in front gardens. Most of the individuals you see on their webs now are females. Males have reached maturity and forgot about feeding: mating is the only thing in their mind, so they move across stealthily, in search of just mature fertile females. Many of the females are now just growing their eggs, fattening up, feeding on the many insects still flying in the mild september. The one above got a Hawthorn Shieldbug and rapidly rolled it up with silk, biting it repeatedly. The stink of the bug seems not to bother the spider. It was a dry afternoon, so the tiny dropplets visible on the silk threads on the bottom-left corner of the photo are probably the glue what makes the web sticky.
 I have been photographing garden spiders in the last few days. They are an easy subject. You can find the same individuals day after day in the same spot and you can get very close without disturbing them.
I tried a white background with this one, placing a white card behind the spider outside.
This is the largest spider around, in a very leafy front garden.

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