Who took the garbage out?

Roger Mayes (VM 58)

If you live in Gauteng and walk round your garden from time to time, you may sometimes notice a small spider web with what looks at first glance like a grey twig stuck vertically through its middle.

Closer inspection will reveal that the “twig” is in fact made up of bits and pieces of detritus – remains of eaten insects, small items which have blown into the web, pieces of cast off exoskeleton etc. – which have been wrapped in grey silk and neatly formed into a line. But no sign of a spider. What you have is a web of a garbage line spider (Cyclosa sp.). Then if you sit and watch for a while, part of the garbage line will detach itself and wander off to gather another piece of “stuff” to add to the garbage line or to do some web maintenance.

It will then return to its position in the garbage line, and all but vanish while you watch. If you then look closely, now that you know where to look, you may just make out two little black eyes, or maybe a bit of leg showing in a small gap in the line. A piece of nature’s magic which had probably existed right under my nose for years before I became aware of it.

ED’s Note:

Want to find out a bit more about this spider, then have a look at

http://www.biodiversityexplorer.org/arachnids/spiders/araneidae/cyclosa.htm

Have a “Sweat the Small Stuff” article we can publish on the HO website. Please send it through to Peter Gordon-Cumming.

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