11th October 2014

A busy family party day today so not much time, but I came across the biggest Garden Orb Spider yet, yesterday, so here’s a little more about these fascinating creatures. They are also known as the Diadem spider, because of the diamond shaped mark on

A dew-laden Orb Web slung between dead Hogweed stalks

A dew-laden Garden Orb Web slung between dead Hogweed stalks, with the spider crouched at the top of the web for prey to land

A large Garden Orb Spider from underneath, showing it's mandibles and hairy legs.

A large Garden Orb Spider from underneath, showing it’s mandibles and hairy legs.

This Bumble Bee, despite it's size and weight, was caught in an Garden Orb Spiders Web

This Bumble Bee, despite it’s size and weight, was caught in an Garden Orb Spiders Web

their backs. Very common, and very visible at this time of year when rain and dew drops hang on the webs, making them show up in the hedgerows and bushes. These spiders use several different types of thread for their Orb Webs. They attach a long thread of one sort of silk, first, at three or four points on the vegetation, before they build up the non-sticky radials. If these were sticky, the spider themselves would get caught while building the rest of the web, and running about to retrieve prey. Then she lays the sticky trapping silk in concentric circles. She uses

Garden Orb Spider, also known as the Diadem Spider because of the diamond shaped mark on its back, seen here.

Garden Orb Spider, also known as the Diadem Spider because of the diamond shaped mark on its back, seen here.

 a further type of silk to wrap up the Drone Flies, Daddy Longlegs, Wasps and other trapped insects into bundles, to eat later. A further type of silk is used to make a cocoon for their young. The strongest silk they use is twice the strength of bone and half the strength of steel! Conditions: In Sheffield the weather is drier, in Sussex we had a tremendous thunderstorm through the evening and the night, and now it’s calmer. Temperature in Sheffield: Max 10- Min 6 C.

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