Wednesday 15 September 2021

Wasp Spiders and their Egg-Sacs

Female Wasp Spider, home patch

We first encountered these fascinating spiders (Argiope bruennichi) in September 2020. Between 5th and 9th September last year I recorded four females, the large striped ones, in our home patch. 

We have enjoyed watching them again this year, though we have never seen more than three at a given time. This morning we discovered a second egg-sac in the long grass, so we hope this means that there will be more Wasp Spiders in 2022. 

These spiders like natural grassland, and we suspect it is our lack of mowing, the result of a pledge we made at the Suffolk Wildlife Trust Summit, that has attracted them to our wild garden. The long grass has certainly attracted grasshoppers, a key food source.

The discovery of a new egg-sac seemed a good moment to post some of our Wasp Spider photos. I hope you enjoy them!

Female with prey


Female with egg-sac

Female near the stabilimentum

You can read about the 'ultra-violet reflective' stabilimentum or zigzag section of web here in the beginning of an article.

Underside of female (with egg-sac)

Female with egg-sac

Damp weather; female with parcel of prey


Evidence of two different spider species in close proximity 

Female upside-down, with egg-sac

Female and egg-sac


Underside of female. Stabilimentum 


Do you see the tiny spider on the right? Is this a different species?

The male Wasp Spider is much smaller than the female. It is light brown and has two yellow lines running along the underneath of the abdomen.

Is the same spider as the tiny curled creature in the photo above?

... and this? Do leave a comment if you know.

Wasp Spider egg-sac spotted on Sutton Heath near Woodbridge

My thanks to David (Gill) for a couple of the photographs in this post.


Conehead54 said...

Wonderful shots & you are lucky to have these in your garden. I do see them locally though.

Caroline Gill said...

Thank you, Conehead54, for your kind comment. The final photo shows the only WS egg-sac i have encountered locally beyond our garden. I guess the soil won't be too different, sandy in each case, but our garden is full of grass and the heath is covered in heather. I wonder if you have seen a male?

Ragged Robin said...

Wonderful photos and such an interesting post. The egg sac is amazing. A super species to have in your garden.
Thanks so much re: Hamnet and your recommendation. I have bought it for the kindle :)

Caroline Gill said...

Thank you, RR, for your kind comment. I hope you will find 'Hamnet' as compelling as I did. I loved the concept, the characterisation and the way in which the author moved us towards the ending. I am currently reading 'The Silk Weaver' by Liz Trenow.

Amanda Peters said...

This is great, so into spiders this year so a little jealous you are getting to see these spiders. They are a long way of my part of Yorkshire.

Caroline Gill said...

Thank you, Amanda, for commenting. I hope you somehow manage to see one of these before too long. It's taken a while for them to reach East Anglia from the south!

Lowcarb team member said...

Thank you for sharing these photographs.

All the best Jan

Crafty Green Poet said...

These are brilliant photos, Caroline! I've never seen wasp spiders, but would love to one day!