European Garden Spiderlings

 Filling my watering can from a water butt next to a sarcococca bush, a movement caught my eye. Due to my slight longsightedness and the closeness of the perceived movement to my head, the video below is a pretty accurate view of what I saw. And it has nothing to do with the fact that my video-making skills need improving!

I did manage to get a slightly better-focussed picture though, admittedly, not that much better...

In any case, the picture was clear enough to identify European garden spiderlings (Araneus diadematus) just beginning to disperse from the cluster. The female lays 100-800 eggs (then dies) - after hatching, the spiderlings remain as a cluster for a day or so before dispersing to build their own small orb-shaped webs.

Wikipedia has a good page on these European garden spiders including a video of the female eating the male after mating. Spiders are fascinating creatures but they do tend to get a bad press. They work incredibly fast building their webs. In the mornings, I have to remember to wave a stick (or my arms) in front of me as I walk down the garden paths if I want to avoid a faceful of web and, sometimes, a persistent sense of crawling on my head for the next hour or so!

Here is a rather fine example of an orb web in the back garden on a sunny day in September 2021...

Orb web - Back garden, Autumn 2021


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