Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Golden Orb Web Spider

After a recent meeting in Cradock I decided to stop at the Slagtersnek Monument near Cookhouse for a few photos.  While I was there I thought that it may be a good spot to place a Geocache and started looking around for a suitable hiding place.  Walking towards the back of the enclosure around the memorial my eyes were everywhere but looking where I was going and the next moment I walked into the toughest and stickiest spiders web I have every walked into.  Looking up this is what greeted me.  A Common Garden Orb Web Spider.  I had such a fright that I gave up my search for a place to hide the Geocache.  I did keep my wits about me to still grab my camera and snap a couple of photos though.

The Common Garden Orb Web Spider (Argiope australis) is different from the Black Legged Golden Orb Web Spider I have encountered before with the female having distinct yellow and grey stripes on the abdomen and banded legs.  They are normally found in fynbos and long grass (like I encountered it on this visit) and their webs are usually built within one meter of the ground.  The web occupies the aerial passage amongst vegetation in the path of flying insects with the spider sitting on the web waiting for prey to get trapped.  The good news is that they are not poisonous and thus harmless to man.  Still a case of "gogga maak vir baba (or in this case pappa) bang"

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