Friday, 22 August 2014

Male Marbled Orbweaver Courting a Female... 

More often than not the spiders that we see in webs are the females. I don't see males nearly as often but when I do they are usually courting a female. Males are justifiably leery of their females (since they tend to get eaten even before the deed is done) and must approach them very carefully. On August 19th, during a survey visit to the Pockwock Watershed Lands, I found a male Marbled Orbweaver, Araneus marmoreus, courting a female. This photo shows the female on the right hanging upside down in her web with the male (also upside down, and downside up, note also his enlarged pedipalps) making his careful approach along a single web strand on the left.

This is the dorsal side of the male on his oh-so-slow approach to the female. Talk about walking a tightrope! But note that his rear legs are grasping his own silk "lifeline" at the top of the photo...that would mean that that single web strand is not so much a tightrope as it is a guidewire!

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