03 August 2010

Team effort

When driving through the Addo Elephant National Park recently I was intrigued by these messy nests that seemed to be found in most of the trees.

Thanks to Joan from Photographs from South Africa, who identified the architect or rather architects of these nests and satisfied my curiosity by suppling the information below. Joan has a most remarkable site that covers a wide range of subjects on South African wildlife and nature. I really enjoy her superb photos, which reflect the passion she has for her subjects. 

This is the work of Stegodyphus dumicola, a community nest spider.

Community nest spiders are grayish-brown, usually with patters on the abdomen. The males are smaller and more brightly coloured than the females. The carapace is slightly raised and distinctively clothed in white hairs, with a triangular pattern of white hair between the eyes.

Stegodyphus is most often noticed because of large and untidy nest it constructs in trees, usually Acacia. A large number of females, males and juveniles live together in one nest. They use cribellate silk to spin the nest which consists of a retreat of numerous tunnels and chambers, and a web which is used to catch prey.

You have to be careful when driving through the Park, if you concentrate to hard on the elephants, you might just miss these little gems.


SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Great post Max. I am pleased my little bit of knowledge helped you. Thank for the kind words. :)

We do miss so much of this small world don't we? I know when I was working up in Kruger I hardly noticed the things at the other side of the sprectrum which are also a very necessary part of the eco-system.

Firefly said...

I have seen them in Addo, but like you say, one tends to look for elephants so hard that you don't always thing much about anything else.

Naquillity said...

what a great post. these spiders seem to have an efficient way of living. i'm sure i'd notice the elephants like everyone else but i'd also see these tiny creatures after the excitement wore off from the elephants. :)

have a great day.