Orb weaver’s Kiss Of Death

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The other day I came across an orbweaver spider hanging in its web.  On close examination I realized that the spider had managed to capture a honeybee, had subdued it, and now, was dining on the bee.

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The spider was holding the bee close to its body, almost in an embrace, and it and the bee seemed almost to be kissing.  This was no lover’s embrace, however.  The spider had injected its venom into the bee, paralyzing it, and liquefying the bee’s tissues, enabling the spider to drink them.

That bee is about twice the spider’s size and yet, the spider has captured and subdued it.  How?  These images testify to the strength and efficacy of the spider’s web.  The silk that the spider produces is very durable, so much so that it can stop an oncoming bee in full flight and not relinquish the bee despite its struggles.

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The web is the spider’s most important tool for capturing prey.  The spider will spin more silk to imprison the bee once the bee has been enmeshed in the web.  But, it is the web that stop’s the bee’s momentum in flight and that holds the bee securely for the spider.

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There are many species of spiders that spin webs but nothing matches the orbweavers for the precision and beauty of their webs.  Coming across one of these spider’s webs on a foggy or dewy morning can be an eye-opening experience because the fog droplets or the dew make the web stand out in all of its architectural brilliance.

Images made with a Canon 5DS-R, 180mm f3.5L Macro Lens, assisted by Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite, stabilized by monopod, M setting, ISO 160, f/14 @ 1/160.

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