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.