SPIDERS ON THE COMMON
WHEN We cross the common on a fine summer morning we see
many spiders' webs sparkling in the sun. The webs on
the gorse bushes are round. They are fastened to the
gorse prickles by long silk threads, and each web has
spokes like a wheel. These spokes are joined together
with rings of silk. There are drops of gum all over the
rings. It is these drops which sparkle like diamonds,
and make the web so pretty.
A GARDEN SPIDER AND BLACKBERRY BRANCH.
The spider spins a little tent in the centre of the
web. In this tent she hides, till some insect flies
against the gummy threads. Then she feels the web
shake, and darts out to catch the fly before it breaks
We saw a little bee to-day fly right against the web on
the gorse bush. Out came the spider from her tent. She
bit the bee with her sharp fangs, tore off its wings,
and then sat and sucked the juice out of its body.
 Paul caught her, while she was busy, and showed us the
two fangs with sharp points, which hang down in front
of her head. Above them are her eight eyes, four large
ones and four small ones. She has eight legs with such
strange claws! Each one is like a comb. What do you
think they are for? She uses them to guide the silk
threads as she makes her web.
HEAD, LEG, CLAW AND SPINNERETS OF A SPIDER, MUCH MAGNIFIED.
We turned her on her back and saw, under her body, six
little pockets, out of which she pulls the silk. It
comes out through tiny holes. She draws it through the
combs on her legs, and so makes her web as she runs
Besides the webs on the gorse, there are webs all over
the common close to the ground. These are not made with
spokes like the round
 webs. The threads are mixed up like wool. For a long
time we could not find the spider. At last one day Paul
said, "Here is a hole right in the middle of the web.
It goes down into the ground."
This hole was lined with silk threads. Just then a
beetle crawled on the web, and shook it. At once the
spider darted out from the tunnel in the ground and
seized the beetle. She was so quick that she had
carried him down into her hole before we could catch
There are many spiders on the common which do not spin
webs, though they hang from a thread. They spring on
the flies and beetles on the ground and are called
The mother hunting-spiders carry their eggs about with
them in a round bag. Peter caught one of these as she
was running along with this white ball under her body.
He took the ball away and put it on the ground. When he
let her go, she ran up and seized it. He took it away
three times. Each time she caught it up again, and at
last ran away before we could catch her.
HUNTING SPIDER WITH HER EGG-BAG.