I decided that I would go on a mini beast hunt today but I didn’t get very far, as the first creatures I saw were just too fascinating to walk on by and ignore.
Just as I left the front door I came across a bundle of tightly packed spiderlings. I have a love/frightened relationship with spiders so I wanted to get close up to them and admire them without getting scared; and what better way to do that than with a spiderling.
The common garden spider (Araneus diadematus) is the most well known spider in the UK. It has a white cross on it’s abdomen and has a distinctive orb web. As well as gardens, they are common in woodlands and heathlands. Go into any garden in summer and you will find one probably sat at the center of the web amongst some shrubs.
Late summer-autumn many spiders mate and produce eggs and after this period the spider is probably at its largest being often full of eggs. She builds a silken sac and can lay up to eight hundred eggs inside. She will then stay with her eggs, protecting them until she dies. The eggs will then over winter till the following Spring.
In May her young finally hatch out and a bundle of tiny yellow and black spiderlings can be seen, normally staying together until they are mature enough to leave.
You notice that if disturbed, the cluster of spiderlings explode from their silk sac cascading individual spiderlings away from each other on tiny silk threads. Once the danger has passed they’ll climb back up to form a clump again for safety.
Before finally emerging from their egg sac, the spiderlings moult twice before being grown up enough to be independent in the big wide world and start the cycle of life once again.