"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Anyone suffer from arachnophobia?

Living on smallholding certainly keeps you on your toes.
This is quite a bland, boring pic -
 until you look closer...
Given the bird nest debris that washes down from our gutters, the other day I was cleaning out the shadecloth filters that we have at the end of our gutter downpipes where they enter the rain water tanks.
Can you spot the spider?
(between the conifer and the water tank)
Whenever I am outside, I keep my eyes peeled for anything that might be out of the ordinary.  And "this" certainly was out of the ordinary...

Not quite on the level of poisonous snakes, nor deadly scorpions, but, given my abhorrence, it fits in with both the aforementioned quite easily... 

I don't per se, have anachrophobia - at least not to the point that spiders cause me to become a quivering heap of jelly legs.  I ten to give them a wide berth and allow them their space, providing they don't invade mine. 
As curious as I was, it appeared to find my
 presence quite interesting too...
Hovering between the gutter downpipe, and the geranium bush (as seen in the first pic) there was this e-n-o-r-m-o-u-s spiders web.  

The web was quite stunning in construction!  And with the raindrops that clung valiantly to every strand, it was spectacular!

The occupant wasn't that evident - until I went closer, then he / she unfurled itself and came out to greet me..
The markings underneath the spider
It had quite magnificent markings, not to mention the web it had created. 
Upper markings
I have no idea what it is, nor what it eats.

It's body was about 2 - 2.5cms long and roughly .5 cm wide.  The length of the legs - I dunno :D

Didn't fancy trying to measure them either ;)

It was not the biggest I've ever seen, but it was not the smallest either.

It was allowed to remain where it was - it intended me no harm - and would, hopefully, employ itself usefully in the garden.

I wonder if it would like / could handle a mousebird or two... ;)

22 comments:

  1. I sympathise - whilst I rather like spiders I cannot cope with even the thought of sn*kes . . .

    Well done for leaving this one alone, brave of you, and especially for understanding that even spiders have a part to play.

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    1. Jayne - Every living creature has it's space, and place, on this plaet. Sometimes, only sometimes, when their space and my space collide, is corrective action required.

      This was not one of those times... :D

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  2. This looks like a harmless orb weaver (http://www.orkin.com/other/spiders/yellow-garden-spiders/) and they do eat those insects we don't like. But, I'm very wary of spiders with bulbous bodies. I can't help thinking they're full of venom, just dying to inject one of your important arteries.

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    1. pqsa - Sometimes it's not the large spiders one has to be careful of. There is a particular spot in our garden which seems to be the preferred place for button spiders to proliferate. Button spiders I do NOT tolerate...!

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    2. Oh yes indeed. In the city I used to have loads of those huge rain spiders in the house. They're harmless, but they have that disconcerting habit of jumping off the wall and hitting the ground splat when you try and coax them outside with a feather duster. Shudder!

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    3. pqsa - We have plenty of rain spiders here and RMan has become an expert at relocating them outside - clever boy ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  3. http://www.biodiversityexplorer.org/arachnids/spiders/nephilidae/nephila_fenestrata.htm

    This is definitely Black-legged nephila- The female, with a body length of 20-30mm, is almost entirely black and the first, second and fourth pairs of legs have a brush of bristles on the tibia. The third pair of legs is the shortest with no brush. The abdomen is elongated (long oval) and is cream to yellow with the caudal section (towards the tail end) black or blue with speckles infusing forward into the yellow. There is a huge variation of abdominal patterns with the amount of black or blue on the abdomen. The key feature to identify this species is the black legs and window pattern ventrally.
    Nephila fenestrata, the Black-legged nephila, occurs over most of South Africa, excluding the arid central and western regions, and is the only species of Nephila to occur in the Western Cape. Since 2002 this species has crossed over the Hottentots Holland mountain range and is now the most commonly seen orb-web spider on the Cape Peninsula. It can be seen from January till the end of June or even to the end of August, usually in forested areas or near areas with trees allowing for suspension of their large orb-webs.

    Prey capture
    A large vertical, sulphurous yellow orb-web is constructed, which has the top section missing in adult webs. Web is capable of capturing small birds

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    Replies
    1. Rainy December - Fascinating - thanks.

      And small birds as in Mouse Birds...? ;)

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    2. Noooooo, I know they're greedy little buggers but I love mousebirds. Love!

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    3. Pqsa - NOT when they decimate an entire young berry and plum crop... ๐Ÿ˜ก

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  4. Birds caught in webs
    The webs of Nephila species are so large and strong that they occasionally trap flying birds. There is no evidence that the spiders eat the birds. In southern Africa, there are the following records of birds trapped by Nephila spiders (information mainly from Brooks, 2012):
    Streptopelia senegalensis (Laughing dove) (D. Forsman in litt. in Brooks, 2012).
    Ispidina picta (African pygmy-kingfisher) (R. Hargreaves in litt. in Brooks, 2012).
    Hirundo rustica (Barn swallow). See photo below.
    Sylvietta whytii (Red-faced crombec) (Vernon, 1976).
    Uraeginthus angolensis (Blue waxbill) (Webber, 1974)

    Terrible, and then they don't even eat them. So sad!

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    1. RD - Oh, that IS sad. Wow - their webs must be hectically strong to be able to catch a Laughing Dove!!

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  5. Spiders are very helpful in the garden but not when they hide in the shrubs & bite!!! We have a Wolf spider that's almost never seen but can give you a nasty, painful bite. It's not poisonous but bites swell massively & become infected. It looks like a mini tarantula!! Not many people ever encounter them here on the Wet Coast of BC, so you don't hear much about them until you get bit.

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    1. Sharon - Your wolf spider sounds terrible ;)

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  6. We have a spider here in North Georgia that gets big enough to drap it's legs over a small saucer. My wife is terrified of spiders and I have to come catch them and let them go outside if one gets in the house. I don't kill them because ours are not poisonous, and they eat mosquitoes. I have to say, though, that if I saw one as big as that thing on your post I'd shoot it with a shotgun!

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    1. Harry - Bwahahaha - t'is not that big - 2 - 2.5cms long and roughly .5 cm wide. The shotgun would swallow it whole... :D

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  7. I thought it was on the tank itself and was at least 2 feet long - silly me.
    xx

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    1. Mum - Bwahahaha - RMan thought the same when he saw the photo :D

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  8. I thought it was a giant.... until you gave the measurements. Spiders don't scare me at all but even I would be wary of giant ones

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    1. Cherie K - Welcome, and thank you for taking the time to leave a comment.

      No, spiders don't scare me either, and I also don't fancy waking up to find one crawling over me while I sleep, but I prefer to give them a wide berth... ;) .

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  9. It looks like what we call here a Garden Spider. They look scary, but are actually harmless and beneficial.

    On the other hand, we had lots of Black Widows in our garden this year. More than I've ever seen by far. They're nasty and venomous. Fortunately I managed to get in all the veggies without being bitten. :)

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    1. Bill - This was one of the large garden spider specimens that I have seen. Yes, we also have a load of Black Widows here - and they are dispatched without as second thought... ;)

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