Question of the month

Lawn full of webs

We woke up this morning to find dozens of these web structures in the lawn. We have looked for the creature but can’t find anything. A few hours later they have disappeared. My children think they must be fairy cushions. What is making them and where do they go?

 

Answer

websWebs on a lawn in the early morning.websA web covered in dew. web builderVenonia micarioides, the tiny web-builder.These little webs are formed by a tiny spider named Venonia micarioides. The webs of Venonia micarioides are actually everywhere but are often only noticed when they are covered in dew just like the ones in your image. If you return to the spot later in the day you may think they have disappeared but look very closely and you may see the web amongst the grass. As the droplets of moisture evaporate the web is no longer obvious.

This little arachnid is a member of the group of wolf spiders (Family Lycosidae), but is not typical of members of this group. Most wolf spiders do not spin webs but dig shallow burrows for shelter. Venonia micariodies is nocturnal (active at night) and feeds on miniscule invertebrates it finds around its home or that become entangled in its web. They are timid by nature and too tiny to harm even small vertebrates. If you look very closely and carefully down the small hole in the centre of the web you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of one. 

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