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garden spider

Garden Spider

Tuesday 7th August 2001, West Yorkshire

Garden spider orb web THE EVENING SUN catches the Garden Spider's orb web in the corner of the window, which shows up as fine glinting lines against the dark shape of the house across the road. The spider waits, hidden away in the corner, with one leg on the signal line which runs from the centre of the web. This one is a large female. She runs down to collect a trapped insect; that's her at about '6 o'clock' on my sketch of the web. There are breaks in the neat latticework, where the insect has struggled. In this design of orb web there is no hole at the centre.

garden spider The Garden Spider, Araneus diadematus, is also known as the Cross or Diadem Spider because of the pattern of small white markings on its back. I remember a friend at junior school once kept this species in a jam jar for a few days. I was impressed by its beautiful markings. He called it Arthur. Little did he know that Arthur was a female. And to be totally accurate, the proverbial 'jam jar' was probably a Gale's honey jar with holes punched in the gold screw-top lid. This was the bug box of its day. Usually with a few sprigs of privet or a wisp of grass inside to make the creature feel more at home.

Feather Mite

'Whitetail' the blackbirdfeather mite damage?Our garden Blackbird, 'Whitetail' has a patch of feathers missing from the top of his head, just behind his left eye. It's an area that must be difficult for him to preen and I wonder if he's got a problem with feather page

Spiders on the Web

Spiders of North-West Europe by Ed Nieuwenhuys.

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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