Where Have All the Spiders Gone?
There have been very few spiders this summer. Usually, at this time of year, a foggy morning shows up masses of spiders’ webs all over the garden. This morning’s fog revealed the dearth. Instead of dozens of orb webs in all sizes I found only six small ones. The one pictured was less than 10cm across. There should be lots of big ones, 15cm across or more. Something happened to the big orbweb spiders.
While I was walking past a big Coprosma bush something large and odd-shaped flew in front of me. It was very dark in the bush, but I found a pair of garden soldier flies seeking privacy. It was challenging getting a shot of them because they reflected too much light for the flash. See extra. This solves a mystery for me. I could readily ID the big soldier flies with the beautiful iridescence, but I didn’t know what the smaller, plainer ones were. A better shot of the female is here. Note the amazingly Mediaeval-appearing scutellum at it’s waist.