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09 August 2007 @ 04:33 pm
Social Spiders  
The general belief is that spiders are vicious loners. At least the most famous and notorious ones are definitely loners, but while talking to some friends recently, I heard about some spiders that are not loners and actually live in large groups, hunt and share food cooperatively! And following an interesting post of a picture of a social spider colony on a nature forum, a bunch of us set out this morning to actually track down a spider web in the outskirts of Bangalore. That's as good a bet as finding a needle in a haystack.

After an hour of the mad Bangalore traffic we landed on a narrow muddy road leading to a small patch of forest. I can't remember having been to a place so deseretd and so close to Bangalore in the recent past. There was just one farmer ploughing his fields on his tractor and he was rather curious as to what the three of us were doing in no-man's land. As we were driving through the Eucalyptus grove next to the fields, we managed to catch sight of a small white web on the ground and off we went to investigate. There are other spiders which build similar webs but they are loners as well and fairly large and all of us had seen quite a few of those. So, looking close we first saw one tiny spider at the entrance of the funnel-like web and soon we saw dozens (hundreds?) of spiders inside the web. Isn't that great? We actually managed to find that needle-in-a-haystack!


Too bad that I missed my macro lens for the close-ups, but the telephoto lens managed fairly decent documentation shots of the spiders.






First look at a Social Spider. I am not sure which species it is or if it has even been described!



More of them



Lots More of them!






 
 
 
sainath on August 9th, 2007 11:49 am (UTC)
reminds me of Aragog and his family in Harry potter :D
Praveen Garlapatipraveenkumarg on August 9th, 2007 05:02 pm (UTC)
exactly my thoughts :)
(Deleted comment)
zhenzhizhenzhi on August 9th, 2007 11:59 am (UTC)
interesting! i have not heard of social spiders before!
debbieanndebbieann on August 9th, 2007 12:04 pm (UTC)
wow, that is so cool, thanks for going out and finding social spiders! and the wonderful photos. Hope to learn more about these spiders.
ajat: Lilacs.ajat on August 9th, 2007 12:05 pm (UTC)
Awwwwwwwwwwwww Sooooooooooo Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet Ooooooooooooooooooooooo !!!

*Wibble*
Yathinyathin on August 9th, 2007 02:28 pm (UTC)
They really are! And they are so so tiny - almost ants to many if they didn't know better.
Anush Shettyanushsh on August 9th, 2007 12:34 pm (UTC)
Wow. Wonderful informative post :-)
Shivakumar: lords_papushivakumar_l on August 9th, 2007 01:59 pm (UTC)
After Vijay it is you now giving some really useful info on Spiders - thanks mate :)
Yathinyathin on August 9th, 2007 02:27 pm (UTC)
The other two on the find-a-needle-in-the-haystack mission were Vijay and Giri! ;)
depontideponti on August 9th, 2007 01:59 pm (UTC)
You call them documentation shots and I call them great shots!

There is a tree near the Siddapura entrance of Lalbagh which contains a large nest of social spiders (I was trying to locate my photograph on LJ but failed..haven't tagged it properly I guess.) No need for needle-in-haystacking! But I didn't go close enough to get such shots of the spiders in gangs..I just got 2 that were sitting on their "apartment complex".
Yathinyathin on August 9th, 2007 02:25 pm (UTC)
In Lalbagh!? And we went around all the way to the other side of town hoping we can get a glimpse at them... :D
mojosaurus on August 9th, 2007 03:08 pm (UTC)
The next step in evolution, probably(from "the future is wild" series.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_Spider#Silver_spider
Praveen Garlapatipraveenkumarg on August 9th, 2007 05:03 pm (UTC)
Yes they look social like ants !
ex_neke on August 9th, 2007 07:19 pm (UTC)
Wow... O_O
Diana Paradisedianaparadise on August 9th, 2007 07:24 pm (UTC)
Any chance of that being a female and her offspring?
Yathinyathin on August 9th, 2007 08:03 pm (UTC)
Unlikely. I've heard that apart from social spiders, no other spiders really care for their young.
velvetinkvelvetink on August 10th, 2007 03:35 am (UTC)
WOW! are they adults? I've not heard of social spiders before. Interesting post.
Yathinyathin on August 11th, 2007 04:13 am (UTC)
Yep. They are all adults.
mamtanaidumamtanaidu on August 10th, 2007 04:00 am (UTC)
Very interesting and the pics are really cool..
depontideponti on August 11th, 2007 08:21 am (UTC)
The LJ post about spiderwebs is at

http://deponti.livejournal.com/207864.html

and the photo is at

http://www.flickr.com/photos/96476944@N00/420168805/

It is quite close to the Siddapura gate.