Sunday, 29 April 2012

Golden Orb Weaver Spiders - Nephila sp.

    Russ Howarth very kindly sent me these photographs of two Golden
    Orb Weaver Spiders he observed in Koh Samui, Thailand.
    Russ has a great story of his observation to accompany these photographs:
   "..A web that spans streetlamps on either side of the road. One afternoon I
    spent a happy half-hour watching a tiny bird (Wingspan less than the spider's
    Legspan) hovering like a humming bird in front of these enormous webs,
    stealing a proportion of the spider's catch.
    There were between 1 and 3 webs stretched across each pair of lamposts
    for maybe 300 metres, the lamposts about 15 metres apart. Quite a colony
    I thought. The bird I tentatively identified as Arachnothera longirostra
    (Little Spider Hunter). I had assumed that it meant the bird ate spiders but
    this experience made me wonder if it hunted amongst spiders' webs.
    If Nephila sp. can capture birds it would explain the (anthropomorphism here)
    nervous way in which the bird took the prey from the web.
    As you may know smaller spiders build webs between the strands of
    Nephila sp.'s web. (that's how it looked to me) So maybe my little
    spider hunter was doing Nephila sp. a favour by removing smaller rivals".

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