Amongst the wild flowers in the lawn I discovered this spider with wasp-like markings poised unmoving in the centre of her web; looking it up on the web (!) I found that it is indeed called a wasp spider, and depending on its age it weaves a zig zag design on its web, much as you see here (apparently the younger wasp spiders haven’t learnt this stitch as yet, so my guess is it’s possible to guess its age.) It is thought this thicker structure reflects UV light thereby attracting pollinating insects like bees and moths. I notice also that she’s also woven a cloud of silk in the centre of the web behind which she lurks waiting for her prey.
The same day I noticed an ant with similar markings who’d hopped off the bunch of flowers I’d brought in, here the photo is a bit blurred, but you can easily see the stripes.
I know I’ve mentioned these before, but I am fascinated by the mud daubing wasps which appear to be increasing in numbers every year, they build their little mud pots so painstakingly and attach them all round our windows, collecting spiders to entrap them within the pot or rather cacoon, then they lay a single egg which hatches into a larva and consumes the spiders. I added the teaspoon to give an idea of the size.
One of the “pots” fell off the window when I opened it and out fell several spiders, in suspended animation I presume. We always know when the mother wasp is at work when we hear frantic buzzing whilst she creates her pots from the ball of mud she’s collected and carried back in her mouth.
I found a huge city of cacoons at the back of a shelf in the outhouse, this mother is not such an artist as the one above who leaves neatly sculpted rows of pots, she gives the impression of being in a hurry as she just throws the mud into a heap whilst burying her pots beneath the pile.
This seems to be a blog on wildlife so I’ll include this praying mantis who was intent on pooping on my nice clean washing, looking every bit as though he’s about to conduct Beethovens 5th if only he could find an orchestra. He spat at me when I tried to move him, so, not sure if they bite or not, I let him be and resigned myself to another load of washing if needs be…..