Shelob revisited

Mike Oxley

Cornwall Ontario, Canada

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Banded Garden Spider
Guindon Park, Cornwall, Ontario, Canada.
September 3, 2010

I was wandering around the park this afternoon enjoying the 33 degree (mid nineties) heat (right!) and I thought I’d pay old Shelob a visit to see if she was still there. Much to my delight, I found her in the middle of her web, in all her stripy glory! And, as you can see, she was most cooperative, allowing me to fumble around, change lenses, reposition the tripod numerous times and, in general, make a nuisance of myself.

Thanks to www.colostate.edu:

The banded garden spider (Argiope trifasciata) is one of the the most common “garden spiders”. They produce large, conspicuous webs amongst shrubbery and other large vegetation in late summer. The webs of the garden spiders are very concentric and resemble those of the most famous garden spider of all – Charlotte’s Web.

The banded garden spider spends the winter either as eggs in a large silken sack or, primarily, as tiny “spiderlings” hidden in protected areas of the garden. These very young spiders get around primarily by “ballooning”, carried by breezes that catch silken threads the spiders produce. Upon settling on an appropriate site, they begin to produce their characteristic webs between sticks, grass, or other upright vegetation.

Flying insects that become caught in the webbing are quickly paralyzed by the bite of the spider and are wrapped in a sheet of webbing. (To see this in action, please click here)
After feeding, the spiders usually cut the dead insects out of the web and allow them to drop to the ground. While tending the web, the female typically remains in the center both day and night, repairing it when it gets torn.

The spiders grow throughout the summer, reaching full-size in late August and September. The males, which are much smaller than the females and do not produce webs, roam around the vegetation and mate the females in late summer. The female then lays one or more egg sacks, that appear somewhat like a small kettle drum with a tough papery cover and may contain 1000 eggs apiece. The spiders die after frost and there is only one generation produced each year.

Sony Alpha 700, Sigma 17 to 70 macro at 70 mm
iso 100, spot metered, aperture priority F9.5, 1/200 second
Tripod

Artwork Comments

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