There was a spider egg sac in the back garden. I kept checking it out to see what it was because I could not find any resource to identify it. The spiderlings hatched but they were too tiny to pinpoint them. A couple of days later they started to produce silk and began their journey away as the wind carried them.
Just across the pathway from their birthplace, this spiderling has an old agapanthus flower stem as its first stop. Now I can see what it is. Stabilamentum—the zig zig orb in the centre—is the unique feature of St Andrew’s cross spider. This pattern of stabilamentum will change to a cross figure as it grows up.
It is our both lucky day, mine and hers. A common netcasting spider or stick spider (Deinopis subrufa), I believe, has been found in the garden in stand by mode. She builds elastic-like web to hunt her prey by throwing the web with four front legs and wrapping around it, as seen in Life in the Undergrowth. Like any other predators, patience is the key to the success.
And the wait is over. She eventually catches a common garden katydid (Caedicia simplex). I am not too sure that this is the most effective way for spiders. Because she also gets a piece of wood with it, it is not an instant food. She has to carefully get rid of that tweak without losing her reward on the ground and it takes a while. My guess is their silk does not have the sticky element like orb-weaving spiders. She hangs on with one hind leg while untangling her own net. But finally, she gets to the katydid and can enjoy her big meal.
Early autumn in Sydney is full of common garden katydid nymphs (Caedicia simplex). I am not quite so sure why this one has a thing for canna lily, or flower in general. I thought the colour pigment it eats would make it harder to camouflage from birds. But there you go, and there is another one behind the flower too.
There are at least three names for this orb-weaving spider: silver orb weaver, horizontal orb weaver and humped orb weaver (Leucage dromedaria). They build their web horizontally and hang in upside-down position. The web reflects sunlight that looks like silver thread.
Summer nearly ends in Sydney. Leaves are starting to fall. Apparently, it is the time for leaf-curler spiders (Phonognatha graeffei) to show up too. As the name gives it away, they curl up a dead leaf and stick each ends together with their silk as retreat. This would be the mating season. The male is on top and the female looks comfy in her leafy home.
Although its web is not as strong as garden orb-weaver spiders’ (Eriophora transmarina), it is constructed in three dimensions to support the structure.
This moment she senses vibration and spots a prey. Ready to attack.