IMG_6358a

Tent spider webs covered in morning dew Photo: J. Fox

By: Michael Fox

I have spent thousands of hours walking and working in Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve and I am still seeing things I have never noticed before. The misty mornings air this morning showed dozens of small tent spider webs in communities in the shrubs. The moisture on the webs this morning made for great photography. When I just checked this afternoon these webs are all but invisible.

d

d

d

d

Dome Tent Spider - 29 March 2014

Dome Tent Spider web Photo: J. Fox

d

d

d

I could not find any spiders to photograph however these webs are almost certainly made by Dome Tent Spiders Cyrtophora moluccensis which I have found in the Reserve. This larger web shows the amazing structure with a collection of something, possibly eggs, at the peak.

d

d

d

Dome Tent Spider - close - 29 March 2014

Close up of Tent Spider Web Photo: J. Fox

d

d

d

d

A close up photo shows the neat matrix of thread and the tension cables holding the shape just like a circus bigtop.

d

d

d

d

d

Cyrtophora moluccensis - Jan10

Dome Tent Spider – Photo: M. Fox

d

d

d

Dome Tent Spider I photographed at Mt Gravatt Campus in 2010.

d

Garden Orb Weaver web - 29 March 2014

Garden Orb Weaver web Photo: J. Fox

d

 d

d

d

d

d

We also found this huge beautifully made web, of the Garden Orb Weaver Eriophora transmarina, stretched out between two trees. Another Garden Orb web had stretched right across the track earlier in the week but without the dew droplets it was virtually invisible and didn’t survive as I walked straight into it.

d

d

Gardern Orb Weaver - 29 March 2014

Garden Orb Weaver Photo: M.Fox

d

d

d

d

d

Garden Orb Weaver females build these huge webs as night and usually consume them again in the morning before hiding in a retreat of leaves and twigs. So it was a bit of a surprise to not only find the web still in place this afternoon but also find the owner sitting in the centre. The web had also caught dozens of flying ants during the day.

d

Spider web - 29 March 2014

Mysterious web on ground Photo: M. Fox

d

d

d

d

Another first for me is finding a large number of these webs on the ground which must be there everyday but only noticeable with the heavy dew. These webs are very fine with multiple layers which makes them look like very fine muslin fabric.

d

d

d

Spider web - hole - 29 March 2014

Entry hole in web Photo: M. Fox

d

d

d

I was not able to get a photo of the tiny spiders living in these webs as they quickly disappeared into the hole built into each web.

Any ideas on what spider species makes these fascinating webs?

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements