If you go down to the dunes today

You're sure of a waspy surprise.  Well, kindof - perhaps the real surprise is that (considering all the wasps we photograph over the summer), this story isn't about a wasp at all - but a Wasp Spider.  Arachnophobia has no place in Mrs WJ, she took most of these.

It's all about the ladies in the Spider world - the males are tiny, insignificant things (sorry chaps!).

No prizes for guessing how they got their name!  You can also see the zig-zag pattern of web underneath her.  No-one really knows why they do this, maybe as a re-enforcement - but is is distinctive to her.  Underneath is just as interesting, the spinneret is clearly visible

If you ever find a male (none around at the weekend, though I do have an older picture for you, just so you can see what they look like), they tend to hang around in the corner of her web, patiently waiting for her to moult to maturity.  At that stage, her fangs are fairly soft, so he can nip down and mate with her.

Get the timing wrong and she eats him

Get the timing right - and he gets to mate with her.  Then she eats him.

Have a poor technique, forget to whisper sweet nothings in her ear.... She'll eat him half way through.  What a terrible comment on a chap's technique!

The whole point of course, is to enable her to produce eggs, which she hides away in a small sac nearby

She uses her silk to pull the long grass away from her web, leaving a bit of a hole on the undergrowth.  When a grasshopper gets to the space, it thinks "Ah-hah!  A gap I can jump!"  Straight into the web, the luckless 'hopper is bound up in a trice

After being left to stew for a few minutes, luncheon is served

Yum!

  • Whistling Joe said:

    Get the timing wrong and she eats him

    Get the timing right - and he gets to mate with her.  Then she eats him.

    Have a poor technique, forget to whisper sweet nothings in her ear.... She'll eat him half way through.  What a terrible comment on a chap's technique!

    When I stop laughing ........... Brilliant stuff!

  • Great Photos MRS JW :) and very interesting read Mr JW.