Resourcefulness in a very tiny package

6 08 2008

Here’s another (but probably not for long) unidentified critter in my backyard garden. I noticed a web being spun in the top of a tomato cage about a week or so ago. Next, in the middle of this highly intricate web appeared a curly cone-shaped dry leaf, suspended in mid-air like a tiny chandelier. Upon closer inspection, I saw a little spider hiding inside. This afternoon, just before the rains came, I caught him wrapping up a nice and tasty black ant, which he then lowered into the web “pantry” (to eat later, I suppose). My friend Jeff happened by after I got the shot and when I pointed out how strong the outer part of the web was, he informed me that spiders can vary the strength of their webs: stronger fibers for the outer walls and then sticky, lightweight skeins for the interior (for catching prey). That skill, combined with recycling a perfectly curled leaf as a protective home base, makes this a pretty resourceful creature, wouldn’t you agree? I couldn’t get any closer without damaging the web, and since he was so tucked into the leaf, I couldn’t see much detail to help identify it. To give you a sense of scale, the leaf is about 1/2 inch long. Any takers on this one? (And yes, I’ll still be offering prizes!) Dalogan? Care for another prize?

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


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