Tuesday, 13 October 2015
Marbled Orb Weaver, Strictly And A Little Craft
You may remember a couple of posts ago I was lamenting the loss of my Marbled Orb Weaver (Araneus marmoreus).This is unusual for me as spidery folk are not usually top of my list when it comes to favoured creatures, but I must admit I do have a soft spot for a Marbled Orb Weaver.
Have you seen one before?
Aren't they pretty? All mine look like this, with the very defined central brown band, but as a species they can be much more marbly or mottled. The similarity of the markings in mine suggest they are a community who has been living and breeding here on our bank without input from other differently marked individuals for quite some time.
We found one in the front garden when we were clearing out an old bed a couple of weeks ago, then I discovered another one also in the front garden on what we rather grandly call our Wild Bank (largely because it gets no attention and is, if you like, a physical manifestation of the current Rewilding Craze that is sweeping conservation circles- rewilding, in case you've not heard of it, being a way of managing the land that involves not managing it at all, in other words, allowing natural succession to take place. In the UK this means you'll eventually end up with a broad-leaved forest). Anyhoo, the second MOW was living in the Bean Tree on the bank, and just as I was all set to photograph her to show you, she vanished.
I generally sweep an eye over the Wild Bank a couple of times a week all year round because it is always full of Interesting Creatures (perhaps underlining the value of rewilding?), and over the weekend guess what I found? Another female Marbled Orb Weaver mending her web near the Bean tree (perchance my original one returned), and then M discovered two more a little further along, one in an old dock and the other among the hydrangeas. Their territories weren't overlapping, but they were all in a line along the one stretch of bank. In the first pic below you can see how she's working the strand of silk she's producing to weave it into her web. And in the second pic you can see how she's keeping contact with a single thread from the web so she knows when she's caught something.
Marbled Orb Weaver webs are usually found in shrubs or woody plants near wooded areas and close to a source of water. This part of our garden has a stream running close by the bank which is itself covered in woody shrubs, and we also have lots of trees round about too, so it explains why I find them in this section of the garden rather than the others. In the other bits of the garden Garden Orb Weavers (Araneus diadematus) proliferate instead.
Girl Marbled Orb Weavers tend to be bigger than boys and spend most of their time tucked away hiding in leaves at the very edge of their webs, which is what I've observed them doing. They fold the edge of the leaf over and secure it with silken thread. Baby Marbled Orb Weavers make their retreat out of silk only. The adults hold on to a single thread which is attached to the centre of their web so they can tell when they've caught something from the way it vibrates. They re-spin their intricate tracery of interlocking lacey threads every day to create a new web. Babies are laid in egg sacks in October where they remain until hatching out in the Spring. If MOW's are worried by anything or feel themselves to be in danger they'll drop to the ground and hide until they feel safe again. Makes you feel Quite Tender towards them, doesn't it? (or is that just me). Here is one of our girls hiding in her leaf having completed the redressing of her web....
Also observed in the garden over the weekend amid the glorious warmth and sunshine were a Specked Wood, rather aged and bedraggled. Unfortunately, he ended up in one of the aforementioned Ubiquitous Garden Orb Weaver webs shortly after I took this photo. Such is nature.
Our Comma is still Going Strong and Looking Beautiful...
And of course, I can't resist another picture of the Callicarpa who seems to have settled in well :o)
I have also been doing a Bit More Sewing, making Crimble Prezzies and a fox purse for my friend Mrs M as a thank you for supper on Saturday. I've made this too, out of some left over fabric, but I can't decide what to do with it. Any ideas? I'm thinking a drawstring duffle bag. It's not huge but with a border around the edge would be big enough for a medium-sized duffle I reckon...
And finally, now that Bake Off has ended (well done Nadiya- a worthy winner), a quick mention of That Jive on Strictly on Saturday night. I know a lot's been made about his professional dance training on line, but ignoring all of that, wasn't that dance just brilliant to watch? It's the only one I've replayed and watched again because it was just so thrilling :o)
Hope you're all well and enjoying the week,