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QELOISE COSTANDIUS from Cape Town writes: I re­cently hiked the Wol­huter Wilder­ness Trail in the Kruger Park. One of the high­lights was com­ingc across a bark spi­der. Ev­ery morn­ing the fe­male breaks down the web anda only leaves the an­chor line be­tween two trees or bushes. At night she buildsb the web again. We were lucky enough to find her just as she’d started gather­ing the web. Less than eight min­utes later and there was only an an­chor line left!

AEn­to­mol­o­gist DUN­CAN MACFADYEN says: The com­mon bark spi­der is a noc­tur­nal orb-web spi­der – the fe­male spins a large web of up to 1,5 m across. It pre­dom­i­nantly feeds on moths and other night-fly­ing in­sects. It takes a lot of en­ergy to cre­ate a web. By eat­ing the old web, the spi­der re­cy­cles most of the silk, re­sult­ing in min­i­mal en­ergy wastage. There are a few spi­der species that do this. Af­ter dis­man­tling the web, the spi­der re­tires to a nearby branch. Its dor­sal sur­face is cryp­ti­cally coloured with horny pro­jec­tions for cam­ou­flage.

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