Country diary: filming about the orb weaver spiders | be crazy


mIt covered Ramsley Moor, but the light was far from flat. The gray veil seemed to glow, catching silver beads of moisture that soaked the heather. We went down a steep slope and stopped at a stream that had picked up pace just like us down the hill, bubbling happily, just like us, leaning against a wooden fence and admiring compact oaks and hawthorns that seemed thicker this year Fruit than ever.

Gradually I realized that it wasn’t just the water rushing away. In the tangle of fading thistles and nettles behind the fence was a frenzied construction, about a dozen orb weaver spiders in their protective helmets, busily working on glittering silk spirals in the early autumn cold to strengthen nets laden with heavy droplets of condensation.

It is not always easy to tease out species of orb weavers. One of the nets was occupied by a Zygiella species, sometimes referred to as the Orb-Weaver of the Missing Sector. They leave a few slices of their web free of silk, with the exception of a signal strand that alerts them to prey caught in the rest of the structure while they lurk safely in their silk nest.

More obvious was a magnificent garden spider, also known as a garden spider, because of the white cross on its back, or the crowned orb-weaver, hence Diadematus in its Latin nickname. Judging by its size, this female was a female that outstripped the male of the species and sometimes also eats it after mating in summer.

With her humbug legs, black and pale yellow in the light, she looked like a living presence – drops of water stuck to her hair and a strand of silk emerged from her abdomen, turning liquid proteins into a hardening thread that was spun by her spinnerets: material, that is stronger, weight for weight, than steel. Soon she will wrap her hundred or so eggs in a round silk bag to wait for spring, and her work and life will be done.

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