The Ventilator

Incorporating The Ranger's Blog


Spiders that are much too cute to bite you!

Matthew Chatfield

After an almost unhealthy preponderance of postings about invertebrates that bite and sting – or look as though they might, at any rate – here’s a follow-up on the cosy little bundle of spiderlings in The Ranger’s back garden. They’ve now grown up enough to make their own webs, and no longer cuddle up together for warmth and protection. In fact, they probably stay well away from each other, as their early fraternal familiarity has doubtless now been replaced by the adult spider’s implacably predatory nature.

Spiderling on web (c) Cat James

Here’s one of the little family, now sitting proudly in the centre of her very own web. It’s still very tiny indeed – as you can tell by the very fuzzy photo – but by Autumn we can expect her or her sisters to have attained quite an impressive size. Keep watching for more spider updates. And another thing – here’s a photo that Cat took today of some beetles feeding on a daisy head – now look carefully at it:

Beetles on a daisy (c) Cat James

See anything unusual? Probably not at these low web resolutions. Nor did the photographer, until she examined the photograph more carefully later. Look at the top of the flower – there’s a little face peeping in. A spider is creeping up on these beetles, and wondering if she dare pounce on them. Here’s a closer look at her face peering through the petals:

Spider peers through the daisy petals (c) Cat James

Hard to know what the spider is, but the Ranger had observed a stout female Philodromus sp. on a similar flower shortly beforehand, so that’s always a possibility. And frustratingly, as this minuscule drama wasn’t noticed at the time, we’ll never know what happened next…

Matthew Chatfield

Uncooperative crusty. Unofficial Isle of Wight cultural ambassador. Conservation, countryside and the environment, with extra stuff about spiders.

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