Well another spider for today's image while not in its usual haunt on the bark of a tree. This fully grown Walnut Orb-Weaver spider (Nuctenea umbratica ) 15mm in body length, is seen here guarding the prospective next generation, she has attached her eggs in a white silk sack on the south facing mesh front to one of my shade tunnels instead of the normal rough tree trunk where they hide in and under cracks and flakes in the bark so it is not a species normally seen in the open. as the name suggests it weaves what most people think of as a spiders web, but instead of sitting in the middle like my Garden cross from yesterday, they attach a cord between the centre of the web and her hiding hole and dash out when prey is caught in it. You may notice that the body is very flattened this is to aid it fitting into the narrow gaps under the bark hidey hole. Later on in the day it poored with rain and i noticed she was not with her eggs, a quick search revealed her hiding down inside a gap where the netting is rolled round a wooden batten to allow it to be nailed to the frame, a good imitation of a crack in tree bark.
Though this seems to be quiet a wide spread species the does not seem to be a lot of detail about its life history, though one interesting fact did come to light, this one of 8 UK species capable of biting back Have a read of this page from the Natural History Museum so handle with care.
A difficult subject to capture for several reasons, 1st this was taken at 15ft+ above ground level , I had to back a truck up-to the tunnel and balance the tripod on some plastic crates to get me level with it.
Then the subject has a great deal of contrast, the egg sack is almost pure white, while the spider is almost black in colour, luckily it was quiet a cloudy dark so the light is was soft, so the whites managed to keep some detail.
Like yesterday I used the the Jessops flash with the white plastic label to bounce the light softly back down onto the subject.
Open in PScs
crop to size about 50%
sharpen with usm and fade back in luminosity @ 75%