Monday, 13 August 2007

Arachnophobes look away!

The Wasp spider, Argiope bruennichi is one of our more exotic looking spiders. It is actually a native spider of Mediterranean areas, and has only recently colonised parts of England. It was first recorded in 1922 and is mainly confined to the south coast. They live in long grass and low vegetation. Because the egg sac is made on grass leaves, this spider can only become established where grass is not regularly managed. This is the time of year to look out for this spectacular beast in the long grass along the cliff tops and in the paddock.
The male is much smaller than the female. He waits at the edge of the female's web until she has shed her skin to become mature. He then takes advantage of the fact that the female's jaws are soft to mate with her in safety. Many males, however, are eaten while mating, so let that be a lesson to you!

Other Wildlife The strong winds today meant that most birds stayed buried in the bushes and Butterflies refused to fly. There did appear to be a small passage of Swallow but these may have just been local movements. A good summary of the birds seen at Bockhill can be found on the KOS web site.


tut-tut said...

Our yard seems to have provided "host space" to spiders that look very much like the one in your photo. These are quite large and build orb webs more than a yard in diameter between our bay window and one side of our house. Any record of this species in the southeastern regions USA?



Tony Morris said...

Hi, unless it is a recent introduction I don't think is occurs in the Americas.