Orb Weaver Redux

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Orb Weaver Redux
7 Comments
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By Chuck Cagara

After nearly walking into this Orb Weaver web last week, I took to observing its industrious inhabitant.

Each day he or she would set about repairing/rebuilding the large trap in hopes of ensnaring the next meal.

The first short video depicts the repair process in progress.

The second short video begins shortly after a meal flew into the web and was hastily wrapped up for current or future consumption.

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PurpleBee Nov 02, 2018 01:50 AM
Orb Weaver Redux

I've got one that sets up it's web on the side of my car that extends across the front and back door. With the dew it gets wet quickly and then the web falls in disrepair as a soggy mess. Recently discovered a rather large black spider hiding behind my side view mirror on the drivers side. It has been making a gorgeous nearly perfect spiral covering over the mirror part that is really visible when it is hit by the sun at dawn and dusk. I keep trying to get a picture of it as it is truly a work of labor, but it never shows the threads, just what is behind it in the mirror. I've thought about misting it lightly with water. Any other sane ideas?

a-1548101280 Nov 01, 2018 02:55 PM
Orb Weaver Redux

Thanks for the videos. Love the spider fixing her web. Impressive skill.

Curmudgeon Nov 01, 2018 03:06 PM
Orb Weaver Redux

You're welcome. Yes, I learned from photo IDs that it is, in fact, a female. Like the Black Widow, the female Garden Orb Weaver is larger than the male.

a-1548101280 Nov 01, 2018 12:23 PM
Orb Weaver Redux

Many years ago, perhaps as many as 20 years ago, on a summer's eve, I decided to start walking late at night. Upper East side, Mission area. It was a wonderful feeling to be out in the darkness, the lone pedestrian and seeing/hearing cars and other vehicles only occasionally. Ah, heaven. Air seemed cleaner. Certainly everything was much more peaceful. On my first night walk, the weather was warm, pleasant. Walking briskly, I soon found myself coming face-to-web with spiderweb after spiderweb. After a while, I had to laugh at how ridiculously often this was happening. It was astonishing how many spiders had built their webs right in the way of foot traffic. I bet I "fought off" over a dozen webs that night. Amazingly, this type of startling encounter involving fellow creatures of the night never happened to me again, not even once, on my all future nocturnal perambulations. I do like and admire spiders.

Curmudgeon Nov 01, 2018 01:33 PM
Orb Weaver Redux

A fine reminiscence! And, in this frenetic age, how many would know how to properly perambulate (alliteration intended) - what with a fast-paced stride, oblivious to all but the small screen in front, thumbs wagging like foolish tongues at the keyboard, all to tweet like a mindless twit...

Curmudgeon Nov 01, 2018 10:43 AM
Orb Weaver Redux

More information from the "web" (pun intended) regarding their habits: "With a medium-sized insect in the web of a large orb-weaving spider in the garden you will see the spider bite the prey, wrap it in silk, wait for it to die, then begin to eat. As a first step in eating, the spider will literally vomit digestive fluid over the prey. Then the prey is chewed with the "jaws" (chelicerae), and the fluid is sucked back into the mouth together with some liquefied "meat" from the prey. The spider repeats this process as often as necessary to digest, and ingest, all but the inedible hard parts. What is discarded afterwards is a small ball of residue. Orb weavers are typically nocturnal. During the day, the spider will prefer to either sit motionless in the web or move off the web. If the spider moves off the web (but does not abandon it), she will be nearby in some cover (rolled up leaves, or on a branch) with a trap line nearby. If prey becomes ensnared in the web, the trap line will vibrate, indicating a possible meal. The spider will investigate; if it is "meal worthy", she will bite it to immobilize it, and wrap it with silk to either eat later, or to continue to subdue the meal while eating. If the trapped insect is not meal worthy, she will ignore it or eject it from the web. At night, the orb weaver will become more active, working to repair any damage on the web, and sitting in the middle of the web. For some species, once morning starts to arrive, the spider will tear down the web and eat most of the silk (reabsorption of moisture plus consuming any dew that might have settled on the web). They will rebuild their web at dusk/night."

Flicka Nov 01, 2018 10:29 AM
Orb Weaver Redux

Thanks for the interesting videos. When I worked at the Friendship Center in Montecito there was an Orb Weaver web in the courtyard with a hedge spider. A couple women employees were totally freaked out and asked a male employee to kill the spider. No way! I grabbed the spider and released it in the back garden. They don't bite and are useful garden spiders.

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