|N. umbratica taking refuge in a reed|
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Friday, 26 November 2010
The walnut orb-weaver: not always where you think it is
A common and widespread species of spider in Britain (and with females up to 15 mm body-length, fairly large for this country), the walnut orb-weaver (Nuctenea umbratica) is usually found in concealed locations in wood, such as under bark or in cracks in old fence- and gate-posts. As such, it is found in woodland, hedges, gardens and around buildings – anywhere with old ‘woodwork’, natural or man-made. However, the picture below shows that it can be more varied in its hiding-places – seen on 22nd September 2010 at Highbridge Farm, this female was hidden in the head of a common reed Phragmites australis on the bank of the River Itchen. Admittedly there was an old jetty nearby, so it may not have had to move far to find its usual woody crevice, but I’m not aware of any other records of this species using a plant head as a refuge. Has anyone else made a similar observation?