Posts Tagged ‘orb weaver’

Monday morning, I went out onto the terrace to hang the wind chimes back up (too loud for sleeping), pick up spent African tulip tree blossoms (20 to 30), and say buenos días to Argiope (previously mentioned spider).

Hmmm… all was definitely not “as usual” in the spider’s web.  Argiope, what in the world is going on?

Argiope spider with dragonfly caught in her web.

Good grief, she had caught a dragonfly!  It must have been quite a battle, as her web was a mess and now she was trying to wrap it up.

Close-up of dragonfly caught in an Argiope orb weaver spider web.

This was serious business for her and she worked at it most of the day.  However I had to chuckle, as sayings from childhood rose up from the cobwebs in my brain  —  Your eyes bigger than your stomach.  Have you bitten off more than you can chew?  Pick on someone your own size!

Dragonfly hanging by a thread on the web as Argiope spider has moved away from her prey

Monday evening, she finally gave up and let it loose from her clutches.  When I retired for the night, the dragonfly was hanging by a thread.

Argiope spider sitting in middle of web with a wrapped up fly.

By the next morning, the remains of the dragonfly had fallen onto the patio and Argiope was sitting happily in her newly repaired web with a more appropriately sized breakfast.

Mother Nature is amazing!

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Warning:  If you are an arachnophobe, read no further!

Remember Argiope, one of the orb weaver spiders who hung around Casita Colibrí’s garden from September of last year through January of this year?  When last seen, she was laying eggs on my screen door.  Alas (or perhaps, thank goodness), a workman who was coming in and out of my apartment must have brushed her and her eggs away,  thus relieving me of answering the question, “Do I really want thousands of little spiders beginning to explore the world from my screen door?”

However, I suspect that wasn’t her first attempt at motherhood.   One day this past June, I was surprised to find…

Argiope spider in the center of her web

Argiope’s daughter?  That is what I would like to think!  And she is just as beautiful as her mother…

Close-up of back of Argiope

… both back (above) and front (below).

Close-up of back of Argiope

And, she is just as good as catching her lunch!  I watched as she finished wrapping up the unfortunate fly above.  I guess she needs all that nourishment…

Bright yellow tear-drop shaped egg sack attached to an agave cactus

Another generation of Argiopes in waiting!  And, as I write, the hunting continues…

Close-up of Argiope wrapping up fly

More to come?  La vida may be loca, but on it goes!

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Remember Argiope, from my September 20 and October 8 posts? She has continued to hang around, catch flies, and do all manner of spidery things. However, four days ago, her web was abandoned…

empty web

Apparently, my screen door is the perfect place, in her mind, to lay her eggs!

Argiope laying eggs on screen door

A friend asked, how do I feel about having hundreds of little Argiopes hatch practically INSIDE my apartment?

Argiope and eggs

I’m trying not to think about it, says I.


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Remember Argiope from 2-1/2 weeks ago?

Orb weaver spider on web in Stalpelia gigantea.

Turns out, she isn’t as sweet as she looks.  Today, HE came, HE saw, and SHE conquered!

Female argiope and shell of male hanging above her.

Leaving him a shell of his former self…

Shell of male Argiope suspended above the female in web.

Within a half an hour, she had finished him off… leaving not a trace that he had ever existed.

Female Argiope hanging in web alone.

And, she was alone again, naturally!  Alone, that is, until their offspring hatch…

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Argiope’s neighbor (of Orb Weavers blog post fame) has returned! Two days ago I spotted the Neoscona oaxacensis (Ms Oaxaca, to her nearest and dearest) nestled among the leaves of a succulent in the pot next to her original home. However, no large round insect catching web was seen.

Neoscona oaxacensis spider nestled in the leaves of a succulent

Apparently, last night Ms Oaxaca must have stayed up pretty late. This morning, when I came out to say, “buenos días,” I found her happily sitting in the middle of a brand new web.

Neoscona oaxacensis spider in the middle of her web.

According to SpidCat, the range of the Neoscona oaxacensis runs from the USA, down to Peru and the Galapagos Islands. They are not only beautiful and harmless, they keep the flying insect population down. So, if you’re lucky enough to have one in your garden, leave her be. If you don’t want to take my word for it, there was the study published in the California Avocado Society Yearbook (1980) that concluded,

…the significance of the orb weaving Neoscona in avocado orchards is probably not that they prevent dramatic population increases in the pest population or control the pests through the year. Instead, the presence of spiders, even in years of low pest populations, may dampen the increases in pest species during the later months of the season and serve as stabilizing agents to restrain the pest outbreaks during the interval between pest population increases and the numerical response of more specific parasites.

Anything that is good for avocados, is okay by me!

(ps) And now for something completely different… The answers to the Name that film quiz are:

  • Birds of America = Vecinos y enemigos
  • Brokeback Mountain = Secreto en la montaña
  • Easy Virtue = Buenas costumbres
  • Midnight Sting = El golpe perfecto
  • People I know = Noche del crimen
  • Tenderness = Asesino intimo
  • That Evening Sun = Una historia de traicion
  • Up in the Air = Amor sin escalas

Sorry, no prizes… just this bonus bizarre title translation my Spanish teacher contributed: Mrs. Doubtfire = Papá por siempre. Definitely a case of, lost in translation!!!

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Clothing, tablecloths, and rugs aren’t the only things being woven in Oaxaca.  The terrace has a new resident, an orb weaver spider (family Araneidae).  I think, because of the stabilimentum (the white zigzags on the web), she is in the genus, Argiope.

Orb weaver spider on web in Stalpelia gigantea.

She had a larger orb weaving neighbor in the pot next door…

Alas, after a couple of days, the neighbor disappeared and her carefully crafted web fell into disrepair.  However, that left more food for Argiope.

Orb weaver spider on web with wrapped up green bottle fly

Apparently, green bottle flies are a favorite, because this is one of several she caught in a single day.  She’s chosen the perfect site for her home — in the garden’s previously blogged about, Stinky plant, attracting flies (aka, Stalpelia gigantea).

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