Blog Header

Blog Header

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Life and death amongst the Euphorbias

Warning - Spider Alert!

Have I mentioned how much I love my Euphorbias? Well yes, I know I do keep harping on about them, but it's not just about the early colour! I miss my bugs during the winter months and whilst there are insects about, they are few and far between at the moment. But the Euphorbias are a real hive of buggy activity and I spent an hour or two sitting beside them watching and taking photos one sunny afternoon last week. The main interest for me is the Nursery Web Spider (Pisaura mirabilis) of which I counted eleven! Most were on the low growing E. myrsinitis, waiting for flies to arrive so they could pounce. What's fascinating about this spider is the diverse range of colours and markings. And it's a pretty spider too. If you've read this far, you may go further and then I'm sure you'll agree. :-)

Some further information about Nursery Web Spiders:

Here comes a fly, attracted to the nectar on the Euphorbias.

After eating, it becomes necessary to have a wash and brush up. But beware....

If they are not careful, this is what awaits them!

A female Nursery Web Spider with a grey brown appearance.

Another female with a pretty reddy brown coloured body.

And this one's a male! He reared up in a defensive position when he saw me.

This Common Yellow Dung Fly (Scathophaga stercoraria) was chancing its luck.

It could have ended up like this!
This spider has yet another variation in colour with very pronounced markings.

This may be the same one but I came back later with an extension tube on to get in closer.

Here is a spider moult - I find it hard to figure out which bit
went where (apart from the obvious legs!).

Not a good capture but this cool dude is Dicranocephalus medius, a Spurge Bug.
Spurge is the common name for Euphorbia and these bugs are found on it
as that's what they feed on.

And this is not Euphorbia, but couldn't resist adding this Pisaura mirabilis which had
decided to try its luck hunting on a freshly opened Anemone de Caen.

Lastly, here is one from last year. This is a female with her egg sac.
It never fails to amaze me how they manage to get around carrying such a huge thing!

If you are not normally a spider lover but you managed to get to the end here, very well done and have a happy Spider Sunday! :-)

P.S. Very pleased to say the first returning Swallows were sighted here flying over the garden on Friday!


  1. Beautiful set of spidery buggy shots Mandy. Our Euphorbia griffithii 'Fireglow' (or something very similar - we got a share from a friend's garden) are 4-5 inch shoots out the ground and it'll be a while before spiders hunt in their flowers.

    1. Hi Nick, thanks for looking at my scary spiders! ;-) I once had a 'Fireglow' but it died on me. How very dare it?! Obviously not as hardy/drought resistant as the ones that self seed here. A shame because I love that one.

  2. Amazing, clear set of great photos, even I could get into Spiders if I could take photos this good...

    1. Hi Amanda, thanks very much! You take some great macros of moss and little things so I really think you should give spiders and bugs a go....... :-)

  3. Replies
    1. Hi Rachel - thanks very much and I'm glad you looked! But I don't imagine you as someone to run screaming from a spider. :-)

  4. Wow these are amazing. Love the detail and the way they are presented

    1. Hi Virgil and thank you very much! Glad you like them. :-)

  5. You taught me how to endure spider shots, dear Mandy! Looove how you started off this blogpost with a real suspense story, I was shaking all over! I was euphorious! Seeing some more portraits of that chipmunk spider made me smile, so that was a welcome counterweight for the suspense! I'm cross with the Pisaura mirabilis, better call him horribilis as it should not have taken the lovely anemone from Caen (I hear the little boy sobbing). And to finish off my comment : I'm sometimes astounded how human females manage to carry their egg sac as well, aren't you?
    Thanks very much for you post, Mandy, I love it and you made me have fun on top after a tiring day :-)
    I hope I can give you a little smile back with my craziness, my friend!

    1. Hi Jan! Only endure? I will have to try harder until you enjoy them! :-)
      The rest of what you wrote is very funny and I am laughing my face off. :-))))))
      Thanks so much for your visit to my buggy world!

  6. I'm going to call you the "Spider whisperer" :-) Awesome images, all!!!

    1. lol thanks Marianne! I enjoyed dusting off my extension tubes for these spiders. Luckily they don't move much!