Thursday, 1 October 2009

Spider rider spied

A car wing mirror is a splendid place for a spider to live. Safe from predators in its plastic castle (unless it is unlucky enough to choose an arachnaphobic owner with a spider-sucking dyson), it can just sit there while the car sweeps its web through the air, scooping flies like an entomologist's net.

So it was that I set off to work today with two perfect orb webs, one each side. No sign of the spiders, as usual. My journey took 40 minutes with 20 of those on the motorway at 70mph. When I arrived, I still had two perfect orb webs. Not a thread out of place on either of them even after a 70mph battering. Still no sign of the spiders.

Then, as I returned to the car to set off home, the nearside spider was just in view, sitting there with a foot gently resting on a thread waiting to detect movement from a trapped insect. At last. I grabbed the camera and got this rubbish photograph just before it shot out of sight - which reminds me, I must try and find that long lost pooter.....

I'm no spider expert but my guess is plain old Araneus diadematus. Any offers?


  1. Not sure of the species (and Dick Jones doesn't mention wing mirrors in his Country Life Guide to Spiders) but having had resident spiders in and on our crusty old Land Rover for many years, it could be the one we had Zygiella x-notata. Same family (Araneidae) but more often on and in buildings wheras A. diadematus tends towards vegetation. Z. x-notata makes an orb-web, sometimes a bit messy, but leaves out one panel with no cross threads, so will be easy to spot if it's the one, particularly first thing in the morning. I wonder if spiders were like dogs, popping their parts out of the wing mirror at speed, just to feel the wind in their trichobothria.

  2. Ah yes, nothing beats feeling the wind in your trichobothria.... However I can't make out any panel without cross threads in the web shot in the earlier post so I guess that must rule out Zygiella if that is diagnostic?

  3. The side view you show on the pic looks like Zygiella. Oh well.... looks like you've some sucking-up to do...!