Sunday 24 June 2012: Nursery web spider - Pisaura mirabilis
I cropped in on this image for four reasons: It is refreshing to be able to show you more detail of these fascinating creatures, particularly the eyes. Also the pedipalps, shaped like boxing gloves. This indicates that the spider is a male. Thirdly, it is possible to see the spider is carrying a wrapped meal in its jaws and finally, because I can - ha!
It is called the nursery spider because the female carries her young in a silk sack. I read up on this spider and now realise that I was actually witnessing the mating ceremony. The male approaches the female, of which I also have pictures as it was on the same leaf, carrying a gift of a wrapped meal. As it gets close, it plays dead, a wise ploy in the world of arachnids. When the female takes the gift, the male springs to life and mates with the female while she is busy eating.
The bulbous pedipalps that look like feelers with boxing gloves, are what the male uses to transfer his seed to the female.
Enough about spiders. Sad to see England bomb out on penalties yet again, but had they sneaked through on penalties it would have cost a fortune on criminal lawyers.
Last night my son John and Mike introduced me to innuendo bingo, where we all sit around a bowl, fill our mouths with water and replay a radio show that plays back innuendo mishaps from celebrities. You can probably work out the rest, enough to say that I got very wet.