- Category: Garden insects
- Published on Wednesday, 02 September 2009 18:31
- Written by Graham
- Hits: 392
Apart from its characteristic wasp-like markings, this spider is easily to name from the form of the web. The radial pattern of the web is crossed by a silk "zig-zag" of thicker material, the function of which is not clear. It may be used to attract insects, or to frighten predators. The spider shakes the web vigorously when something large is approaching and that result in a blurry white spot.
Another theory is that the spider makes the web clear to see so that larger animal don't destroy it accidentally.
The spider I saw was male judging from his size (about 0.5 cm), and he had one leg missing which happen frequently apparently following a July mating. The wasp-like appearance is probably a defense from predators. This spider is not dangerous to humans, and lives on insects (especially grass hoppers) that become trapped in the web. The prey is wrapped in a silk cocoon and the spider administer a lethal bite with venom and a protein-dissolving enzyme. When the meal has stopped moving, the spider sucks up the insect “soup” or hangs the packet in the web for later. If a large insect becomes caught in the web, the wasp spider bites the threads to release it if it's too large to be killed.
This spider lives in open grassy areas and makes his web amongst grass and low foliage. It is common in the Mediterranean and has been spotted further north including sightings in the south of England.