|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|I shot this spider today in the wild forest about 60 km far from Minsk. It was rather hard to get a sharp shot because net was being moved all the time by the wind. |
When this spider heard my voice it raised up front legs - in agressive manner i think;) Unfortunately only this "still spider" shot was sharp enough.
The Areanus diadematus or Garden Spider is called Cross spider (Kruisspin) in Dutch. This is for obvious reasons: the spider stands out because of the white cross shape on the abdomen.
These Garden Spiders are one of the larger species of spiders found in Western Europe. The females can grow up to 20 mm (save the legs) and in autumn her abdomen is largely swollen prior to egg-laying.
Garden spiders spin orb-shaped webs between plants, with which they ensnare their pray. The building of such a web is quite the intricate endevor:
The spider starts building the web from the outside to the inside. The first thread is known as the bridging-thread, it is a horizontal thread on which the web is hung. The spider then most of the time adds two vertical threads and another horizontal thread to complete the rectangle (it also happens that the web is triangular, then the last thread is not added). From there on in, the spider builds spokes which converge in the center of the web.
When the outer framework is done, the spider builds a spiral helpthread, which runs from the inside to the outside of the net. All these threads up until now are not sticky. The helpthread is used by the spider to walk on while she builds the sticky catchthread in a spiral from outside to the inside. The helpthread is dissolved during this proces. The spider then waits in the center for prey to get stuck in the web. When prey is trapped, the spider runs via the non-sticky spokes of the web to its prey, bundles it in silk and injects it with a paralyzing and liquifying substance. Once the prey is paralyzed, and subsequently dead because all of the inner organs have liquified, the spider sucks the prey dry until nothing is left but a shriveled up, black outer shell.
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