I found a large web in the backyard one wet February morning, stretched between a rose bush and a hazelnut shrub. In the middle of it sat a smallish Australian Garden Orb Weaver Spider (Eriophora transmarina): about 2.5 cm from the top of its head to its spinnerets.
They can grow quite a bit larger than that: I’ve seen a much larger (and lumpier) specimen, about 4 cm from head to tail, in a garden in Kogarah. If I ever find the photo again I’ll add it to this post for comparison.
These spiders often build their webs at night and then hide away for most of the day. Spidey’s appearance, relatively late on this summer morning (around 0700, with enough light for flash-free photography), was a bonus.
Another of these spiders once built its web less than a metre from my front door, and I nearly walked into it late at night. After a week of avoiding the structure I broke its anchor to the ground; two days later the web appeared again, but off to the side where it wouldn’t cause any problems.
After sitting around for many photographs, Spidey finally got spooked and slowly moved away.
Even with the heavy dew there was no question of photographing the entire web: the background was too variable and there was hardly any backlighting.
I’ve read somewhere that Eriophora transmarina eats its own web in the evening before making a new one every night. I’m not sure how true that is, but I can say that new construction can start as early as 2000hrs.
Camera: Pentax K-5
Date: 15 February 2012
Lens 1: Sigma 50mm 1:2.8 DG Macro
Ambient light only.
Cropping and resizing in Irfanview.