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Orb weaving spider & Emerald damselfly

Orb weaving spider & Emerald damselfly
Photo Information
Copyright: Hans Hendriks (hansh) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 277 W: 1 N: 741] (2762)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-08-22
Categories: Insects
Camera: Canon 20D, Sigma 150mm f2.8 macro
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): The predator with the Prey 2 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2010-01-08 6:20
Viewed: 3221
Points: 40
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Hi MF from a cold and snowy Holland.

Today i want to show you an Orb-weaving spider (Larinioides cornutus) wich caught a Green emerald damselfly (Lestes viridis) in his web.
However the web is so fine that it is hardly to see in this picture it was strong enough to catch the damselfly.

A nice weekend to all of you.

Gr. Hans

The orb-weaver spiders (family Araneidae) are the builders of spiral wheel-shaped webs often found in gardens, fields and forests. Their common name is taken from the round shape of this typical web. Orb-weavers have eight similar eyes, legs hairy or spiny and no stridulating organs. The family is cosmopolitan, including many well-known large or brightly colored garden spiders. There are more than 2,800 species in over 160 genera worldwide, making this the third largest family of spiders known (behind Salticidae and Linyphiidae).

Generally, orb-weaving spiders are three-clawed builders of flat webs with sticky spiral capture silk. The building of a web is an engineering feat, begun when the spider floats a line on the wind to another surface. The spider secures the line and then drops another line from the center, making a "Y". The rest of the scaffolding follows with many radii of non-sticky silk being constructed before a final spiral of sticky capture silk. The third claw is used to walk on the non-sticky part of the web. Characteristically, the prey insect that blunders into the sticky lines is stunned by a quick bite and then wrapped in silk. If the prey is a venomous insect, such as a wasp, wrapping may precede biting.

Many orb-weavers build a new web each day. Generally, towards evening, the spider will consume the old web, rest for approximately an hour, then spin a new web in the same general location. Thus, the webs of orb-weavers are generally free of the accumulation of detritus common to other species such as black widow spiders.

Some orb-weavers do not build webs at all. Members of the genera Mastophora in the Americas, Cladomelea in Africa and Ordgarius in Australia produce sticky globules, which contain a pheromone analog. The globule is hung from a silken thread dangled by the spider from its front legs. The pheromone analog attracts male moths of only a few species. These get stuck on the globule and are reeled in to be eaten. Interestingly, both types of bolas spiders are highly camouflaged and difficult to locate.

The spiny orb-weaving spiders in the genera Gasteracantha and Micrathena look like plant seeds or thorns hanging in their orb-webs. Some species of Gasteracantha have very long horn-like spines protruding from their abdomens.

One feature of the webs of some orb-weavers is the stabilimentum, a crisscross band of silk through the center of the web. It is found in a number of genera, but Argiope, which includes the common garden spider of Europe as well as the yellow and banded garden spiders of North America, is a prime example. The band has been hypothesized to be a lure for prey, a marker to warn birds away from the web and a camouflage for the spider when it sits in the center of the web. However, recent research suggests that the stabilimentum actually decreases the visibility of the silk to insects, thus making it harder for prey to avoid the web.

Most arachnid webs are vertical and the spiders usually hang with their head downward. A few webs, such as those of orb-weaver in the genus Metepiera have the orb hidden within a tangled space of web. Some Metepiera are semi-social and live in communal webs. In Mexico such communal webs have been cut out of trees or bushes and used for living fly paper.

The Green Emerald Damselfly belongs to a small group of 4 rather similar metallic green damselflies. Among these it is easily identified, for it is the biggest, males never turn blueish and the marking in the wings is whitish. Usually the eyes are brownish and not blueish as in the other species. The Green Emerald Damselfly may reach a length of 45 to 50mm, while the wingspan varies from 50 to 60mm.

Like in all damselflies and Dragonflies mating is done in a wheel: males grab a female behind her head and she places the end of her body near the end of the males's thorax. Mating usually takes place in trees or bushes near the water. After mating the female lets go, but the male keeps on grabbing her behind the head. They now are a so-called tandem. In this position egg-laying commences. While most damselflies lay their eggs in the water, the Green Emerald Damselfly deposits her eggs in crevices in the bark of trees, especially branches growing over the water. She prefers willows to other trees to lay her eggs in. In the evening however one sometimes sees females depositing eggs by themselves. The eggs overwinter and hatch next spring. Out of the egg comes the legless, smooth and very light prolarva. It is capable of jumping, something it must do should it have been fallen not into but near water. This prolarva stage takes a short time only. Some damselflies mould within a few seconds. In the Green Emerald Damselfly it takes the animal several minutes to mould for the first time. The nymph usually hunts at the bottom and grows incredibly fast, for after some 3 months a new adult may appear.

Due to the fact the eggs are being laid in tree bark, we'll find this species in waters surrounded by trees and shrubs. The size of the water doesn't matter much: a lake will do, but so will a ditch. Brackish water though is avoided. Both females and males may migrate considerable distances and may turn up in gardens as well. In gardens they'll never be as numerous as some Dragonflies though. The Green Emerald Damselfly usually hunts from one and the same place. After a hunt they'll return to the same place over and over again. Photographers don't have to go running after them, just wait for them at their usual spot. They'll accept your presence very soon and are excellent models indeed

maurydv, Argus, Pentaxfriend, marius-secan, nglen, jlinaresp, loot, boreocypriensis, Dis. Ac., smitha, flashpoint has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • roges Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 957 W: 0 N: 1329] (6264)
  • [2010-01-08 6:23]

Hi Hans,
Nice macro.
Interessante samenstelling, mijn felicitaties.
Een leuke dag,

Ciao Hans, amazing double capture, splendid macro with fine details and excellent sharpness, superb action shoot, bravo, very well done my friend, ciao Silvio

amazing capture, TFS Ori

  • Great 
  • nagraj Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1618 W: 106 N: 3208] (15166)
  • [2010-01-08 6:38]

Beautiful lighting and interesting species, captured with good composition. Great colors that you have shown here, excellent image. tfs.

  • Great 
  • zetu Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 967 W: 26 N: 3888] (16941)
  • [2010-01-08 6:44]

Hello Hans
Nice composition...a little spider and its big prey.
Well done

Hello Hans,
a fantastic double capture, very good sharpness and marvellous bright colours, excellent POV, DOF and composition with splendid BG.
Best regards

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2010-01-08 7:34]

Hello Hans,
A fine capture of both captive L. viridis and captor orb spider, both hanging on a thread.
The POV, lighting, sharpness, composition and Bg contribute to a fine high quality image that is also unusual.
Thanks and greetings from a cold and wintery Sweden,

Ha Hans,

Prachtig licht en achtergrond
POV is perfect
scherpte/diepte en kleuren zijn prima

TFS Thijs

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2010-01-08 10:51]

Hallo Hans,
Wat een vondst. Ik heb veel spinnen met buit gezien, maar dit nog nooit. Erg mooi. Jammer dat je lens vuil was. Er zitten nogal wat vuile vlekjes in de foto. (We houden iedereen scherp!) Prachtige kleuren, goede scherpte en een uitstekende compositie.
Goed weekend,

Hello Hans,
Great macro, very interesting capture with lovely colours and excellent clarity.
The blurred yellow-green backgound is amazing.

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2010-01-08 11:49]

Hi Hans. Not such a good day for the Damselfly but thats nature. You have been able to take a fine close up with sharp focusing and fine detail. Your use of the light has given bright colours. The plain Bg shows the insects of so well.

hallo Hans
een super opname ,moet je net tegen aanlopen
mooi scherp en goede achtergrond
super details en mooi kleuren
groetjes lou

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2010-01-08 12:48]

Hi Hans,you was lucky to meet this dramatic and strange situation..and a great photographer to take that so perfectly...beautiful composition and top quality of sharpness and colors! Thanks for share,have a nice day,Luciano

Hi Hans,
What a shot! It seems impossible that a dragonfly can be trapped by a web so thin. And it seems even more impossible than this tiny spider can "drink" this insect. Great and very interesting shot. Well done! TFS

  • Great 
  • loot Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5524 W: 722 N: 4163] (11276)
  • [2010-01-08 20:39]

Hello Hans

Wow, what a commotion. I just wonder if this little spider didn't bit off more than it
could chew. Anyway, it's got the poison factor in its side so the damselfly probably
stands no chance. Excellent sharp details captured with a beautiful isolated BG to
enhance the action and the subjects. Well spotted and captured.

Good work and TFS.

Hi my dear friend Hans,

This is an astonishingly awesome capture of a poor dragonfly ambusing by a spider from gret POV.
The DOF, clarity, details and composition are all impeccable!
TFS and have a great WE MF!


Hallo Hans,

wat een uitstekende macro foto van spin en juffer, het roofdier is nu zelf prooidier.
Prima plaat.


Ciao Hans. Dramatic impressive dynamic capture with exciting light and very good colours. Intrigant beight blurred BG.


Hello Hans,
Excellent capture. Very sharp and good details. Perfect POV and DOF. Lovely warm tones.
Thanks and regards,

ciao Hans!
ormai e' la fine per questa Lestes viridis ,finita nella ragnatela...
tutto sembra sospeso nel vuoto se non fosse per l'unica traccia di filo che scende da sopra..buona la definizione e
il caldo colore del BG...
grazie e ciao sERGIO

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