Archive for December, 2011

A diversity of spiders

Written by Lucy Brzoska

If you wish to live and thrive, let the spider run alive 

Enthroned in a Pitch Trefoil flower, the Heather crab spider (Thomisus onustus) had arrayed its legs like a multi-limbed deity.  The colour of raspberry-ripple ice cream, it blended in well with the purple bloom where it meditated, invisible to prey and predator.  Enormous forelegs lay in wait.

It’s always worth getting up close and making eye contact with a Jumping spider. This female Carrhotus xanthogramma was spotted on a Common Smilax leaf.  

Her abdomen has handsome tawny markings.

Shining a torch in a spooky underground chamber in the middle of Collserola’s woods revealed a colony of Meta bourneti – a Cave Spider of the Tetragnathidae family.   The light cast great leggy shadows on the vaulted walls and picked out the prominent black bristles.  Like other Orb spiders, these cave-dwellers rely mainly on these touch sensors to hunt.  They seemed to hang in mid-air, perfectly in tune with the vibrations in their nearly invisible webs.

The Wasp Spider (Argiope bruennichi) adds drama wherever it sets up camp.  There were several alongside Vallvidrera reservoir at the end of summer.  They’d slung their webs low down in the grass where dragonflies cruise.