26th June 2014

I found this great spider’s web today.  It’s often mistaken for the highly poisonous Funnel Web spider of other climes, but it is the Labyrinth Spider, fairly common in grassy areas of England, but especially in the South. This spider produces a web usually around 60cm’s off the ground, and is so thick it appears white. Below the amazing funnel-shape is a labyrinth of tunnels (hence its name) at the base of which, out of sight, is the egg-sac with all the developing young. The mother stays with the young until they are ready to leave the web. The mother sometimes dies just before this happens, in which case the young will eat her, before emerging. This spider particularly likes eating young Crickets and Grasshoppers and there were a lot of these in the grassy patch where I found the web. The spider is very hard to see as it disappears into the funnel when disturbed. The photo’s of it are also indistinct because the web extends over the top of the funnel! The adult is fairly pale, with darker bands of brown and grey and a central pale brown stripe.  Conditions: A cloudier day. Temperature: Max 17- Min 12 C

A Labyrinth Spider's web in tall grasses.

A Labyrinth Spider’s web in tall grasses- the little yellow dashes are grass seeds caught in the web!).

The adult Labyrinth spider is lurking at the top of the funnel of its web!

The adult Labyrinth spider is lurking at the top of the funnel of its web!

An indistinct view of the Labyrinth Spider, seen at the start of the Labyrinth.

An indistinct view of the Labyrinth Spider, seen at the start of the Labyrinth.

 

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