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SPIDER FEEDING ON DRAGONFLY

on 31st July 2015

“On the morning of 29th November 2014, while skirting a local pond, I noticed that a dragonfly had become ensnared in a spider’s web near the water’s edge. The arachnid predator was a female Yellow-Silver Saint Andrew’s Cross Spider (Argiope catenulata) and was putting the finishing touches of her sticky silk to restrain the male dragonfly prey (below), a Common Parasol (Neurothemis fluctuans).

“When she was satisfied that her silken strands were sufficiently secure, she then proceeded to nibble on the immobilised victim, as well as sucking up all the nutritious juices (below).

“A video clip of this femme fatale having her leisurely brunch may be previewed here:”

Dr. Leong Tzi Ming
Singapore
24th July 2015

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

Other posts by YC Wee

4 Responses

  1. Yes, this zig-zag silk pattern is known as the stabillimentum and it may serve the purpose of reinforcing the web’s stability. It has also been postulated that it may also play a role in attracting insect prey towards the web, with varying success. Such silk ‘decorations’ are often observed in spiders of the genus Argiope.

  2. In my earlier post on this website I mentioned that it could be possible that the prominent zig-zag pattern on the webs of St Andrew’s Cross spiders could be a visual deterrent for birds. It serves no purpose for small birds to crash into the webs. Both parties lose. The spider will have to carry out repairs, while the bird will be temporarily handicapped, and will have to spend time cleaning the sticky mess off its feathers.

    Therefore, the theory has been postulated that this family of spiders has devised such highly-reflective and easily visible warning signs on their webs to serve as hazard warnings for small birds.

  3. Indeed, this spider would certainly not welcome a bird crashing into its web, especially when she is having her meal. : )

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