Just a note that throughout June I’m posting a macro photo each day for the Wildlife Trusts’ #30DaysWild campaign, which you can keep up with here!
There has been a clear shift in the invertebrate world and it’s resulted in a lot of macro photos for me. So much so that I can’t fit them all in one post and will need to post more than once a week!
After early May’s heavy downpours, warmer weather arrived towards the end of the month and with that the insects, spiders and other arthropods. Summer feels closer now, with June being that tipping point between cooler spring weather and the hot mess of July.
One day last week I noticed a small clutter of, well, things on the garden fence. From a distance they looked like a smudge. At closer viewing they were tiny spiders all bundled together. This will be quite disconcerting to some people perhaps, including a friend of mine who I hide social media posts from because of his arachnophobia. I don’t have that problem luckily and I’m fascinated by spiders.
I had no idea what the spiders were until I submitted the record to iNaturalist and then waited for a suggestion. I leafed through my new spider book and landed on a page with the same image as the one that heads this post. They are garden spider spiderlings! The scientific name is Araneus diadematus.
It is pretty amazing that they will develop to be such large spiders, holding their places in webs over the summer months. Imagine the biomass of flies and other insects this clutch will manage to consume over the months ahead. Then again, many of them will be taken as prey themselves by birds and other insects. Don’t forget there are such things as spider-hunting wasps.
Here is one of those spiderlings (I am guessing) having set up its own web on the other side of the garden (approx. 3-4 metres).
And here was one of the adults garden spiders. I don’t know enough about the ecology of this species to say if this could be the parent or one which appeared earlier in the spring. One thing is assured – they will be getting much bigger and by August you won’t be able to miss them.
Thanks for reading.
Merlin Sheldrake’s Entangled Life has been sitting on my bookshelf for well over a year. It might even be two years. It almost certainly has fungal spores on it, probably mould. I knew it was going to be an excellent book that contains huge amounts of fascinating info about the fungal kingdom because I’d read… Continue reading Entangled Life: the book fungi have been waiting for 🍄
Hi everyone, I’m pleased to announce that I’m leading a fungi walk in Dulwich Park (SE London) on Sunday 23rd October 2022: The meeting point is near the cafe at 11am. The walk will last around 90 minutes. The walk is free to attend and is funded by the Dulwich Society. It’s been such a… Continue reading Dulwich Park fungi walk in October
A couple of weeks ago I spent some time in the Arun valley, my local access point to the South Downs. The Arun valley around Amberley is a crossing point (or perhaps washing point) of the Weald and Downs – where the river that rises in the High Weald’s most westerly point cuts a course through the chalk hills.… Continue reading The Arun valley: gateway to the unknowable Downs