December 23, 2009
There are always plenty of spiders around in summer but the orb-weavers – especially the Nephila and Eriophora – are surprisingly small for this time of year. I’m guessing that the early summer heat, coming as it did in late winter, drew the sap-sucking cicadas out a month or 2 earlier than usual, before the orb-weavers got going. Normally a fair number of cicadas would be caught up in the massive orb webs but with this mis-timing the cicadas have proliferated without fear, at least from spider predation. Finally the orb-weavers are weaving and catching food but with less around to eat they aren’t looking as good as last year. We need some rain as well as the ‘real’ summer heat to bring the food supplies up. Well that’s my take on it, anyway.
But here’s a lucky – if gruesome – catch for one of the Eriophoras, a grasshopper that was on the wing. Until it got snagged, anyway. Someone’s got breakfast, and lunch. Also a few other orb-weavers just hanging around looking beautiful.