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Web2spider at Ermington Public School

By: Sue Lewis, Category: Lifelong Learning, Date: 18 May 2010

Despite the cold weather the students found a number of golden orbs, leaf-curl spider, black house spiders (Badumna spp), Araneus species and others.

Museum in a Box Coordinator, Karen Player and I spent an interesting day at Ermington Public School investigating the spiders and insects. On the first really cold day of the year, the students still found abundant numbers of orb-weavers and weavers of lacy and tangly webs. The Web2spider toolkit enabled them to identify the spider species in their little patch of bushland without any collection or entrapment.
No spider was harmed in the making of this science lesson!

Golden orb spiders can still be seen until as late as August or even September, if they are in an area protected from frost. Once they have laid their eggs, (usually in a golden sac off to one side of its web among the bushes) they are more inclined to die off as their life cycle is complete.

Leaf–curl spiders (Phonognatha graeffei) will create a little “purse” from a leaf for its eggs.
This would be a good time for the students at Ermington to be on the look-out for spider egg sacs too!
 

Tags web2spider, Ermington Public School, spiders, webs, leaf-curl spiders, golden orb spiders, orb weavers,

4 comments

Sue Lewis - 11.05 AM, 25 May 2010

Year 5 may like to revisit the site where we surveyed spiders and look out for the golden sacs of eggs that belong to the Golden Orb spider. The numbers of Golden Orbs will diminish as the weather gets colder and they have finished their life cycle, that is they have reproduced another generation of spiders! Looking forward to the next Web2spider survey year carries out. 
We are impressed by your sharp observational skills.

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carolyn.amat - 2.05 PM, 24 May 2010
Year 5 enjoyed looking at many unique web types and the way they were constructed in different ways.We had fun identifying the different web types using the keys that the museum supplied for us to use. We wondered why there wasn't more Golden Orb webs???? Year 5 students from Ermington PS
Martyn Robinson - 5.05 PM, 21 May 2010

Hello Carolyn,

I'm not sure why you would have found more spiders in the open area than under trees (as I wasn't at the site) but I can make a few guesses - (a)it was sunnier out there and at this time of year invertebrates would need to bask to gain heat before they could become active, (b)the open area might have been in a natural 'funnel' or depression that would concentrate travelling invertebrates, OR it could have been the edge zone between one type of habitat and another - these EDGE areas have far greater diversity than most other 'pure' habitats/environments as they get fauna from the two adjacent habitats AND fauna which is unique to EDGE areas as well (c) the open area might be slightly raised and animals escaping from waterlogged ground will be heading there.

As for spiders in trees that's where many species spend their whole lives. The species of spider concerned will determine where you would expect to find it.

I hope this helps?

Sincerely

Martyn Robinson

carolyn.amat - 10.05 AM, 20 May 2010
We were surprised that more insects were found in the pitfall traps in the open area than under the trees. We wondered why??? We were also surprised to see spiders in trees.from Year 5 students at Ermington PS.

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