Spider vs. Spider

Recently a feather-legged orbweaver (Uloborus glomosus) set up its web in a space in the stone wall by my back door.  These spiders aren’t very common in New England in my experience–I had to go all the way to Mississippi to see my first one–so it has been nice to have the opportunity to check this one out every time I walk out the door.  The other day I took a couple of photos of it attending to a wrapped prey item, and when I uploaded them today I was surprised to see that it had caught a jumping spider.

Feather-legged orbweaver with wrapped jumping spider.

This is the first instance I can remember seeing of a spider caught in a spider web.  It’s impressive that the orbweaver managed to subdue another spider substantially larger than itself, and perhaps even more so that it accomplished this without the aid of venom or sticky silk.  Feather-legged orbweavers, like all members of their family (Uloboridae) and unlike all the other spiders around here, are unable to produce venom.  And unlike true orbweavers (Araneidae), instead of secreting a sticky fluid along the spiral strands of their webs, they rely on the microscopically frizzy texture of their silk to tangle their prey.  Although the threads are a little out of focus in this photo, this frizziness is visible here.

About Charley Eiseman

I am a freelance naturalist, endlessly fascinated by the interconnections of all the living and nonliving things around me. I am the lead author of Tracks & Sign of Insects and Other Invertebrates (Stackpole Books, 2010), and continue to collect photographs and information on this subject. These days I am especially drawn to galls, leaf mines, and other plant-insect interactions.
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3 Responses to Spider vs. Spider

  1. Pingback: More Drama by the Back Door | BugTracks

  2. Pingback: Spider vs. Spider, part 2 | BugTracks

  3. Pingback: Cribellate Spiders, and Some More Thoughts on that Mysterious Thing from Peru | BugTracks

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