8.01.2007

Spiders!

Some wasps—or are they hornets? I'm still not clear on the difference—have set up shop on the porch, and it's been fun watching their pretty grey nest develop over the past few weeks. The wasps/hornets are definitely a presence on the porch, but so far we've all managed to stay out of each other's way. (I'm not going to even THINK about spraying pesticides with honeybees around! Besides which, I've got my karma to protect.)

The other day, as I was heading to the bee yard, I came upon this scene—a wasp struggling mightily to escape the relatively small web of a relatively small spider.
As I watched this rather horrifying drama unfold, I wasn't sure who to root for. On the one hand, working with bees, I've become more appreciative of their near-relatives, the wasps and hornets. On the other hand, I'm a big spider fan.

I tore myself away from the wrestling match to take a few pics of the honeybees and when I came back 10 minutes later, the victor was clear.

I then headed up to the garden to take some pictures of the bees on the borage plants. There, I found a goldenrod spider (a.k.a. "flower spider") polishing off one of "my" honeybees!Mortified as I was to see a beloved bee meet such a premature end, I had to admire the spider's grace and stealth. I don't think crab spiders (the family to which goldenrod spiders belong) even use a web—I believe they ambush their prey.
See how frayed the bee's wings are? That's a sign of aging, and it may have made this girl more vulnerable to ambush. Perhaps her end—while sad—wasn't so premature, after all.

P.S. I just checked on the crab spiders in one of my field guides and read this: "[Crab spiders] do not spin web snares, retreats, or overwintering nests, but the male of some species may cover a prospective female with loose silken webbing and tie the female down."

We'll just file that one under "no comment."

1 comment:

ballı baba said...

hello,
first of all, i have to say that your blog is awesome. Especially i love your photos of spiders.You have nice topics, too.

Congratulations
Hope to see you...