Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Death of a bee

An orb-weaver (Eriophora biapicata) has set up a permanent web between the tree ferns. More commonly, garden orb-weavers dismantle their webs at dawn and rebuild them in the evening but this spider has left its work in place for more than a week.

The web spans a bed of fan flowers (Scaevola), which is popular with feral honeybees, native leaf cutters (Megachile chrysopyga) and several species of hoverflies. This poor worker came a cropper when she flew into the sticky threads. That it held her for so long demonstrates the adhesive power and strength of the trap lines.

The bees and breeze shred sections of web during the day. On returning at dusk, the spider's first duty is to patch up the holes. Then it takes its place at the hub, waiting for the fan flower's night visitors.



How come the spider didn't make a meal of the bee?

Snail said...

Don't know, Aydin. There were a couple of trussed-up bees in the web today but this one seemed to have been completely ignored.

There are so many bees in the Scaevola, that this spider could live like a king on them.