20 September 2012

Spiders! Sheet Weavers

Linyphia triangularis Sheet weaver spider

I'm sorry, but we have to face it, this is the spider season, and it would be remiss of me not to say something about them.

This fine-legged lady hanging upside down from her web is, I think, Linyphia triangularis, a sheet weaver spider.

We can assume she has little understanding of geometry, and doesn’t care for the artistry of perfect spirals. Aesthetics are not her priority. As long as the web is fit for purpose she doesn’t worry about the look of it. Some sheet weavers add a funnel of silk from which they hide, but this one is confident enough to hang from the middle of her web and wait for those foolish flies to get entangled.

In truth there is some method to her madness. Above the flat sheet of the main web she has built a tangle of long threads, which you can see better in the image to the right.

These are the ones that trap the flies. Some experts say they also serve to protect her from birds coming from above.

She's no fool.

Here's a neat graph from Britishspiders that clearly highlights this time of year as the spider season. It shows the frequency of adult Linyphia triangularis sightings.

And, yes, looking the garden, I can confirm its accuracy.