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Camera: Canon EOS 550D – Location: My bathroom court-yard garden, Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa

The spider’s touch, how exquisitely fine!
Feels at each thread, and lives along the line.

~Alexander Pope

I was SO excited when I discovered an Orb-web spiderling, just 3cm from the tip of her front legs to the tips of the hind legs, in my garden! She had just anchored her lines between a Cape Reed Grass spike and the one pillar of the patio when I took the picture and when I returned half an hour later, she had started on her wheel, complete with the typical thick zig-zag lines in the center. The colours on her back are amazing and reminiscent of an Indian totem pole! You can see the colours on her back here

During the process of making an orb web, the spider will use its own body for measurements.

Many webs span gaps between objects which the spider could not cross by crawling. This is done by letting out a first fine adhesive thread to drift on the faintest breeze across a gap. When it sticks to a suitable surface at the far end, the spider will carefully walk along it and strengthen it with a second thread. This process is repeated until the thread is strong enough to support the rest of the web.

After strengthening the first thread, the spider will continue to make a Y-shaped netting. The first three radials of the web are now constructed. (the “Y”-thread can be seen in the pic below by her hind legs). More radials are added, making sure that the distance between each radial is small enough to cross. This means that the number of radials in a web directly depends on the size of the spider plus the size of the web.

Many orb-weavers build a new web each day. I have often watched this process. Generally, towards evening, the spider will consume the old web, rest for approximately an hour, then spin a new web in the same general location. Thus, the webs of orb-weavers are generally free of the accumulation of detritus common to other species such as black widow spiders.

I am a watercolorist living on my little piece of African soil in Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa. The inspiration for my art is the wonderfully rich variety of Fauna and Flora to be found throughout this beautiful country.
“There is a fine line between dreams and reality; it’s up to you to draw it.”

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Comments

  • Elizabeth Kendall
    Elizabeth Kendallalmost 2 years ago

    Very interesting info Maree, thanks for sharing! How wonderful is nature! Fine pic too!

  • thankyou very much Elizabeth.

    – Maree Clarkson

  • artwhiz47
    artwhiz47almost 2 years ago

    Excellent shot of this little craftsperson… & the quote from Pope is absolutely perfect. Spin on!

  • Thanks ever so much Sheila!

    – Maree Clarkson

  • Valerie Anne Kelly
    Valerie Anne K...almost 2 years ago

  • Thank you very much for the fav Valerie.

    – Maree Clarkson

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