Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Masterful Web Design



I came across some interesting spider webs the other morning in Bunyip State Park. There was a little bit of morning dew present, which is ideal for seeing the intricate web patterns in great detail. I ticked Leaf Curler and Jewel, (Spiny), Spiders pretty quickly and then I found several of a quite different shape that I hadn’t seen before.

Tent Weaver Spiders.
Sometimes called dome webs apparently, these fascinating structures consisted of a horizontal web with a central cone, giving the whole a tent-like appearance.



At the top of the cone is a package of debris placed by the spider to create a ‘retreat’ and to conceal the egg sac a little. To me, some of the debris packets looked like large spider-like structures which made me think of a deliberate strategy to deter predators.

Visible egg sac with female at the bottom keeping an eye out?
 When I returned two days later, without the dew, the webs were much more difficult to see amongst the tangle of heathy shrubs.
 
The 'retreat' and egg sac can just be seen right in the middle of the image.

I think the genus is cyrtophora and the species hirta perhaps?
 
I think this is her - Cyrtophora hirta?

Gouldiae

6 comments:

  1. What a wonderful web. Apparently we get them here in Tassie but I have never seen them. Must look harder!

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  2. Mosura! Hey, g’day – it’s been a while?
    Thanks for looking in and yes, apparently the Tent Weavers do inhabit the Apple Isle, good luck on your search.
    PW

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  3. I haven't seen one in the wild either, just photos. Well spotted Gouldiae. It always astounds me the effort spiders put into their webs, particularly the Tent-weaving Spiders (must have taken days, if not weeks to complete).

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  4. G'day Craig,
    Very complex structures - my little bit of research tells me they don't build new ones very often but they do make repairs to damaged parts. Now that'd make a great YouTube video.
    PW

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  5. Nice to see it amongst the Pultenaea weindorferi in the second last pic, great pics!

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  6. That's right Benedict and the P weindorferi was a brilliant show this last Spring - blog, (http://gouldiaesblog.blogspot.com.au/2014/10/fire-biodiversity-one-positive-story.html)
    PW

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