Posted by: Ross Gardner | October 6, 2013

Autumn Throng

I have been moved before to write at about this time on the arachnid plenty of early autumn and I am given to do so again.  The reason being a mere 2 or 3 square metres of coastal grassland.  The droning of a Roesel’s Bush-cricket caused me to stop along my path and peer into the  tall, dense sward that edged the tidal creek that runs eventually into the River Crouch.  Predictably, the  cricket halted its stridulating and remained undetected, but within those few square metres of grass were spiders almost by the dozen.  I say ‘almost’, but how many moved unseen among the blades – dozens, easily.

But even without any great effort of investigation here were so many spiders and of at least six different species.  A sheet-web spider Linyphia triangularis had slung its untidy, horizontal web were it had found space enough for its construction to be cradled.  Others hung in more orthodox fashion, vertically and upside down in circular webs.  A Garden Spider (Araneus diadematus), that most familiar of autumnal arthropods, rich brown and exquisitely marked with white zigzags and the dots and dashes that make the distinctive cross on the abdomen, alongside the much more slightly built Meta segmentata.  The pick of the bunch though, were the so-called Four-spotted Orb-weavers – Araneus quadratus; marble-shaped females with abdomens distended and bulging with eggs.

Even with the descent into autumn having been initiated, the throng is still very much there to be found.

Araneus quadratus - the Four-spotted Orb-weaver.  Copyright 2013 Ross Gardner.

Araneus quadratus – the Four-spotted Orb-weaver. Copyright 2013 Ross Gardner.

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