Sunday, June 7, 2015

Ain't nature wonderful – part #89778965

Here's the nature-loving equivalent of a *spoiler alert* ... warning to arachnophobes, this post is about spiders...

They've all gone? Good, on with the show.

The good news is that he or she is back. Our net-casting spider. Pammy spotted the tell-tale web this morning, in exactly, precisely the same spot as last year, and the year before, etc etc. These spiders know their real estate. The net-caster loves the spot just in front of our murraya hedge, just to the left of the big wooden post which holds up our front verandah. If you're a net-caster, this is prime position.

A small but perfectly formed little net, a bit over an inch (2-3cm)
across. It'd be a nice food cover for a couple of peas.
It goes without saying that all spider webs are marvels of
nature. Somewhere within each net-casting spider's little brain
is all the software it needs to design and build this web.

Now here's the scary bit for arachnophobes: an actual spider
at work, trying to catch a very tiny human. No, I tell a lie, it
actually catches insects... but how it does it is remarkable.
Unlike other spiders, the net-caster holds its web in its "hands"
as an old-style fisherman holds a net, then throws it over the
first insect wandering by, wrapping it up in its net. Nifty, eh?

To give you an idea of the scale we are dealing with here, this
is an ordinary biro.
The other excellent thing about net-casting spiders is that they are surviving and coming back each year. I like to think that having an organic gardening policy plays its own tiny part in creating an environment where everything from worms in the ground to net-casting spiders up in our murraya hedges have a healthy, natural, pesticide-free place in which to go about being wonderful in the way that nature intended.

*end of spoiler alert* 
Want to read more about them? The Australian Museum, as always, has an excellent page on them.


Crooked Cottage said...

I admit to being quite frightened of spiders but I can read about them, I just don't like that sticky feeling of accidentally walking into the web - and then panicking about where the spider is! I've never heard of these spiders, but they sound quite fascinating. I love that they throw their net over the other insects!

Amy Crumbs said...

Amazing, and so beautiful.

Shivangni said...

Fortunately I'm not scared of spiders, only Snakes, I don't know why, but can't even look at their pictures
This is truly amazing and interesting & we humans thought only we use tools to help get our food and make homes!

Diana Studer said...

another fact is stranger than fiction spider from Australia.
I am just as intrigued by the dancing peacock spider (sorry I forget its name, but not it's technicooloured display)