25July

Spider Workshop

by Gill Cardy

Conigre Mead is looking its best just now with banks of blue Meadow Cranesbill, plumes of meadowsweet, which seems to have spread quite a bit, and increasing musk mallow. On 6th July a pristine Scarce Chaser, newly emerged, was patrolling the river and pausing occasionally to pose for a photo among the reeds in the north west corner. A Southern Hawker was also seen, and many damselflies, including several white-legged damselflies which were very hard to find last year.

Scarce Chaser M.9615

Photo: Scarce Chaser (Gill Cardy)

Spider Workshop: Our day in the reserve was planned to study Spiders and Bill Blumsom regaled us with some surprising information about these fascinating creatures. The commonest of our spiders is the group known as money spiders and there is estimated to be about a million per acre. Conigre Mead should have about 3 million - and we should be in funds!

Another group of spiders has large palps which the male uses to semaphore to his mate. If she waves back he knows that she will accept him. I must look out for that spider next year - apparently May is the best month to watch this display.

Another spider wraps up a food parcel to give to his chosen mate. While she is busy eating he nips off to have his wicked way with her and then back to the front end to steal whatever she has left of her meal - quite an enterprising character!

Spider 9542

photo: Spider (Gill Cardy)

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