Sunday, 9 December 2012

Winter Window Spider

 
These images are not strictly Filnore Woods photos, but this wonderful little spider, who spins her webs all through the winter, is probably present somewhere there.  I snapped her spinning on my window at home. 
 
 
 
The name is Zygiella X-notata but I call it the window spider, because it often builds a web on the corner of a window frame.  I have in fact seen one of these in the woods, attached to the wing mirror of my truck



Only the females survive the cold weather and they are the only orb-web spiders that spin right through the winter.  They really do seem to like window frames. 
 
 Here are a couple of professional photos.
 
 
You can see that Zygiella leaves a segment of her web clear, without any spiral threads.  Across this gap she stretches her signal line to pick up the vibrations of any insect that lands on the web.  Zygiella then trots out of her hiding place in the corner of the window frame and zaps the fly.
 
 
This close up shows the 'folium' on the back, a mark shaped like an oak leaf, which many spiders have.  Zygiella's folium is dark round the edges with a silvery centre.  Notice the little rings on her legs too.  These are called annulations and the different patterns can help you distinguish one species from another.
 

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