Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Catholic Spider: Basilica Orbweaver

Our holly bush is chocked full of Basilica Orbweavers! Scientifically known as Mecynogea lemniscata, these spiders get their common name from the way the females build their webs: an orb pulled up into a dome, with an irregular-shaped web nearby where they wait for prey. Dangling threads help knock down prey into the trap. Egg sacs are easily recognized as hanging chains:


Because of the 3D structure of the webs, I initially didn't believe these were orbweavers. Yet they are. Apparently anatomy and behavior contributed to this spider being placed in Araneidae instead of in Linyphiidae (Sheetweb and Dwarf Spiders).

Web design:

Body views:
I got 4 eyes in this shot!

Female wrapping up prey:

References:
http://bugguide.net/node/view/2029
http://www.insectidentification.org/insect-description.asp?identification=Basilica-Orb-weaver
http://eol.org/pages/1195623/overview
http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/3705366?uid=3739896&uid=2&uid=4&uid=3739256&sid=21102099910003 (secondary use of removed orb web)
http://www.floridanature.org/species.asp?species=Mecynogea_lemniscata
http://www.spiderzrule.com/basilica.htm

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