A tough little spider

Brown spider on dead leaf
Basket-web spider, probably Cyrtophora exanthematica, on a macadamia leaf

I took this photo just a couple of days before cyclone Yasi arrived and made a real mess of much of north Queensland, including our garden. It shows a small brown spider nestled comfortably inside a dead Macadamia leaf, which in turn is suspended inside the spider’s loosely-woven basket-shaped web. Some people call it a ‘Double Tailed Tent Spider’, ‘double-tailed’ for the two rounded points of its abdomen and ‘tent’ for its web, but that just goes to show the inconsistency of common names.

Anyway, cyclone Yasi came and went, and I had more important things on my mind for a while than spiders. When I did start to take an interest again, the web was either still there or had been replaced in exactly the same spot, so I assume it’s the same individual spider.

She is still there now. Here is yesterday’s photo of her – standing in the middle of her web on the remains of one of her captures, a sap-sucking bug, Poecilometis sp.

Spider and prey amongst dead leaves
Living the good life, Cyrtophora style

Afterword, 7.7.11:
Checking on the web last week I saw that it had fallen into disrepair. It was even more dilapidated early this week and I decided that its inhabitant was no longer with us. Today brought confirmation, in the form of a new Paper-wasp nest amongst the web’s remnants:

Paper wasp nest in macadamia foliage
Paper-wasp nest in macadamia foliage

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