Thursday, April 7, 2011

Working the Nightshift....

Hello Dhaaarlings...

My  gardens at "The Palais"  have been invaded 

By these little Darlings... 

Photo by Princess

Well they're not so little really...

they are known as the "Golden Orb Spider"

Read more about them Here

And Don't Panic! I'll admit that they are scary looking... but are really quite harmless to humans... Not so if you are a small insect of the flying kind! Then you are viewed as a meal...

During the day they sit there hanging completely motionless right in the centre of their web... until an unsuspecting bug just going about it's own daily business finds that it has suddenly come to a screaming halt.

Then.... Like lightening the spider pounces.... and before the bug knows what has happened it finds itself suspended in a new silk wrapper hanging like a bauble from a Christmas tree.

The spider becomes busiest at night... Like fisher folk mending their nets...

 Working through the long dark night repairing their damaged web in readiness for the next days haul of bugs and critters...

Photos by Princess
Photo by Princess

The nocturnal meanderings of the Female Golden Orb Weaving Spider
I find them fascinating to watch while they work

I always wonder how they decide where the next strand of silk will go and how do they work out which part of the web needs repair?

Photo by Princess

Photo by Princess

This is what the female looks like in the day light... Her body alone is about 3-5cm long and this does not include her legs!
She has been... up until today... surrounded by about eight or nine smaller male golden orb spiders. 

The males are only about 1 cm long in total length... including their legs... rather puny and insignificant in comparison to her rather ample proportions. 

Photo by Princess

I think that the female spider is of a similar opinion herself...

Why? I hear you say...

Well on my inspection this morning the other males had gone... (presumed eaten) with only one very brave but looking much worse for wear... male staggering about with a few missing legs...

you might be able to see the male just near her back leg in the photo above

Photo by Princess

the web itself is quite a large and intricately woven contraption

Photo by Princess

They get their name from the yellowy silk that they release from their spinneret's as they create these incredible webs ...

With some species' the webs are strong enough and large enough to trap small birds...

Fortunately not the ones in my garden!

 They are quite content to consume insects which they wrap in neat little parcels and hang in a line down the centre of the web... 

The web shimmers golden in certain light

They fortunately... will not be around for much longer... the days are becoming shorter and the weather cools through Autumn on it's way into Winter.

While they have been around they have been quite helpful in decreasing the local population of flies and mosquitoes...

And that darlings is a good thing...


  1. Holy cow! My wife would absolutely freek if something like that was hanging around the house. We get little grasshoppers in our basement called cave crickets and they do come up into the house. The Mrs traps them with tupperware bowls for me to dispose of later.

  2. I have to admit that the first time I met on of these I walked straight through the web. It felt like my head had been tangled in fishing line. They are pretty strong webs. The spider got a bigger fright than me though! I think it had something to do with scale...

    Tell the Mrs you need one of these in your basement.... I've seen them turning a grasshopper into a meal... Think of all the washing up she'll save on cleaning tupperware...

  3. I turned my childhood fear of spiders into an appreciation when I found out how much good they do.

    This is the first I've seen of the Golden Orb. I hope never to look one in the face but I'm glad they're out there doing their thing.

  4. I'm glad you were able to overcome your childhood fear MJ. They are quite interesting critters when able to just sit and watch them go about their business.

    Yet we do have some nasty ones here in OZ. I also found a nest if redback spiders while weeding the garden today. they will give you a nasty bite... But I didn't have my camera with me to get a photo... I just kept my distance... and kept weeding...

    *Runs for the hills*

  6. Apologies. I have not overcome my childhood fear.

  7. Sorry Miss Scarlet

    My intent was not to frighten the bejiggilies out of anyone Darling...
    Please accept my humblest of apologies...

    Perhaps I should have posted an alert at the top of the page.

    Might I suggest you have a quiet chat with Mistress MJ... She seems to have overcome her arachnophobia. There may be some helpful hints on offer....

  8. "Will you walk into my parlor?" said the Spider to the Fly,
    "'Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you did spy;
    The way into my parlor is up a winding stair,
    And I have many curious things to show you when you are there."
    "Oh no, no," said the Fly, "to ask me is in vain;
    For who goes up your winding stair can ne'er come down again."

    "I'm sure you must be weary, dear, with soaring up so high;
    Will you rest upon my little bed?" said the Spider to the Fly.
    "There are pretty curtains drawn around, the sheets are fine and thin;
    And if you like to rest awhile, I'll snugly tuck you in!"
    "Oh no, no," said the little Fly, "for I've often heard it said
    They never, never wake again, who sleep upon your bed!"

    Said the cunning Spider to the Fly, "Dear friend, what can I do
    To prove that warm affection I've always felt for you?
    I have within my pantry, good store of all that's nice;
    I'm sure you're very welcome - will you please take a slice?"
    "Oh no, no," said the little Fly, "kind sir, that cannot be,
    I've heard what's in your pantry, and I do not wish to see!"

    "Sweet creature," said the Spider, "you're witty and you're wise;
    How handsome are your gauzy wings, how brilliant are your eyes!
    I have a little looking-glass upon my parlor shelf;
    If you step in one moment, dear, you shall behold yourself."
    "I thank you, gentle sir," she said, "for what you're pleased to say;
    And bidding good morning now, I'll call another day."

    The Spider turned him round about, and went into his den,
    For well he knew the silly Fly would soon come back again;
    So he wove a subtle web in a little corner sly,
    And set his table ready to dine upon the Fly.
    then he came out to his door again, and merrily did sing,
    "Come hither, hither, pretty Fly, with the pearl and silver wing;
    Your robes are green and purple, there's a crest upon your head;
    Your eyes are like the diamond bright, but mine are as dull as lead."

    Alas, alas! how very soon this silly little Fly,
    Hearing his wily, flattering words, came slowly flitting by;
    With buzzing wings she hung aloft, then near and nearer drew, -
    Thinking only of her brilliant eyes, and green and purple hue;
    Thinking only of her crested head - poor foolish thing! At last,
    Up jumped the cunning Spider, and fiercely held her fast.
    He dragged her up his winding stair, into his dismal den
    Within his little parlor - but she ne'er came out again!

    And now, dear little children, who may this story read,
    To idle, silly, flattering words, I pray you ne'er heed;
    Unto an evil counsellor close heart, and ear, and eye,
    And take a lesson from this tale of the Spider and the Fly.

  9. Well Dear Mitzi
    that was just marvellous Darling...

    Here is one I prepared Earlier over at my home away from home...*Wink Wink*

    You're more than welcome to drop in for a cuppa. I'll put the kettle on....

  10. Fantastic fotos of your nature neighbors! I usually have 3 spiders with webs set up around the front door, catching those filthy flies and mosquitoes! And cockroaches!

    That must be some sight, that golden sheen of a web!

    When I was younger, I had a brown recluse bite me between my neck and my left shoulder. Hurt like a mofo! Woke me right up! Felt like someone stabbed me with a needle! I smacked the area and when I lifted my hand, I found the flattened brown recluse on my palm. A trip to the ER and a dose of antibx and all I had to bear was some ugly bruising and swelling for a week til I healed up. Looked real cool at school showing off that wound!

  11. Thank you Princess that was lovely.

  12. Yikes! The classic Aussie spider-as-big-as-a-diner-plate!