On returning from one of my weekend trails I found a spider on my hat . I released this black beauty in my garden so that it could find food for itself . It built a web and settled down . On my next trip to the lake I wanted to take the spider and leave it in its home ground , I could not find it . I found only the remains of the web.
The next morning this spider was found in the middle of its web . I was wondering as to where it had disappeared the previous day . Late in the afternoon the spider was not found in its place . It was fascinating to watch this spider play hide and seek with me . I started observing this spider very keenly keeping tab of which part of the day it was seen . One morning I found this spider unusually active moving around its web , On a closer look it was found winding up its web . I was thrilled to watch this phenomenon. For the next few days my routine was to watch this spider spin its intricate web in the night and pack up early in the morning .
Guru – g identified this spider as the harmless spider of the Araneidae family ( Neoscona sp ).
One day a hungry tailor bird stepped in looking for food . Though the spider was in a place well camouflaged in its surroundings the bird spotted it and started to peck when suddenly the spider did a bungee jump with its strand of silk to disappear among the plants below . It reminded me of Spider man . The bird tried to look for the spider and gave up after a futile search. Next day I noticed that the spider had changed its place . It had laid its web at a different location.
These spiders would be easy prey for hungry birds, so they have developed the hide-by-day strategy. Although the main ‘orb’ part of the web is gone during the daylight hours, some of the structural lines are often left in place, and the spider usually shelters at a point where these meet a tree, house or fence.
There are an estimated 36,000 known species of spiders worldwide . Spiders are natural pest control agents . One study that included spiders in an enclosure with broccoli plants infested with pests found a reduction of more than 60 percent in the pest populations as compared with a similar plot without spiders. To have more spiders in the garden, provide habitat not only for the spiders but also for their prey. Planting flowering plants and shrubs will attract the insects that spiders prey on and give the weavers a scaffold to hang their webs from. Do not use pesticides; spiders are not pests.
Read on an interesting article on Spider goat where genetic engineers spliced genes of orb-weaving spiders into DNA of goats, so now these goats produce silk from their udders along with milk.
To my delight I found another small spider of the same species in my garden , so the spider which came with me was a female and had given birth to another one . I am glad that this spider has adapted to the new surroundings and made my home its home too.