03 November 2009

A spider that had its nest on a sycamore leaf

One windy day about 10 days ago, the sycamore tree on our street lost many of its leaves. I happened to be passing by and picked up one of them. While examining the leaf, I noticed that one lobe was attached along a vein to another lobe by silky material. I pulled the lobes apart and out came a small spider.


Luckily the spider stayed on the leaf while I brought the leaf in and took a series of pictures. Subsequently, it even went back into its partially destroyed abode.


Obviously, this spider lives high up on the trees. But where does it go when the autumn comes and the leaves fall? Does it prefer sycamore trees, which have rather large leaves? After the photo session, I put the leaf behind some bushes in my yard. As of this afternoon, it was still there, but I didn't check to see if the spider was still on it. I'll do that in a few days.

I just posted the pictures on BugGuide.net. Maybe someone will identify the spider.


Joel VanDerMeulen said...

What a surprise!

Where I live I've found its quite common to find spiders in rolled-up leaves.

I remember at one point while lifting a rock to watch an ant colony I found a perfect cylinder made of leaves burrowed under the rock. It was odd and I wish I could know what was inside of it.

Good luck with BugGuide, they're very good at identifying arthropods. For now I say it resembles some sort of orbweaver.

pascal said...

Interesting. So does the spider live high in the trees all season, or does it crawl into the leaves to hibernate/lay eggs for the winter?

Makes you wonder how much of our existing biodiversity developed as a new adaptation because of the evolution of deciduous trees (angiosperms appear sometime in the Mesozoic), or did they have alternate strategies previously adapted for gymnosperms that were easily "co-opted" for life with deciduous trees.