Autumn mowing? Look out for spider egg sacs!

I was out looking at a site preparing for an autumn cut. Hopefully we will get it done before it rains too much – but I did discover something interesting. This is a site where in the summer I saw Argiope, the Wasp Spider. This spectacular creature is now found in long grassland habitat across the southern parts of England.

Argiope eggsac

By now (late October) the spiders are gone, but their egg sacs remain in the grass. Where I can find them, I’ll leave them uncut so the spiders can recolonise next year.  Here’s one I found today. The pale, papery eggsac is about the size of a small hen’s-egg, usually in long grass about 30cm off the ground. Some sacs are decorated with grass and leaves  -some are left quite bare. This one is fairly well camouflaged.

Argiope building eggsac

 

This is one I found in 2010, not far from the place I was today. It was a bit earlier in the year and I also found the mother spider standing guard!

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