Ogre on the fence

How could you not like a spider with a name like Ogre-faced? I found this ogre, more commonly known as the Net-casting Spider (Deinopis subrufa), lurking on a fence facing a busy suburban street.

This is a female net-casting spider. Males are much thinner. The Queensland Museum reports that “At night, the female spider builds a brilliant blue-filled rectangle of silk which it swirls around passing prey with remarkable speed.”

‘In a bygone but more erudite society this spider was called the Retiarius (lit. “net-man” or “net-fighter” in Latin) after the lightly clad gladiator of ancient Rome who faced his more heavily encumbered opponent armed only with a cast net and trident.’ Rod Hobson

The Australian Museum tells us more about its net-casting abilities. “In order to have an aiming point, the spider often drops splashes of white faecal droppings onto the leaf or bark substrate over which it is poised. When an insect walks across this ‘target’, the spider plunges its net downward to envelop and entangle it. If successful, the spider silk-wraps the prey item, bites and paralyses it, and then feeds on it. Net strikes will also be made at flying insects that stray too close. An unused net is sometimes stored by hanging it on nearby leaves for the next night’s hunting, or the spider may eat it.”

One thought on “Ogre on the fence

  1. Jane

    Hi Rob, I was just checking back through some older blog posts of mine and noticed your comment and thought, “I haven’t read his posts in ages but they haven’t come up in my reader.” I have just tried to subscribe again now but nothing seems to happen. Anyway, I just wanted to apologise for not having read these great posts. I have now made a note to check on your blog regularly as I don’t seem to be able to subscribe/follow. Maybe it’s just my technologically-deficit brain! Anyway, back to your blog. Your photos are fantastic. I read the blue tiger one first. I also saw them in large numbers migrating when I was visiting the Maiala rainforest in the D’Aguilar Ranges this year. That was the first time I had ever seen them do that! It was amazing to walk through a field am have them fluttering around me. Your photos are gorgeous! I love spiders and so I love this post too. Once again, sorry I have been back to comment. I will try to subscribe again now. Kind wishes. Jane

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