Seeing Red in a Tent – Spidey Galore #3

November 23, 2011 at 11:54 am | Posted in itchy mouth | 1 Comment
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This day Itchyfingers were at the Botanic Gardens when we saw a Black-naped Oriole (Oriolus chinensis) in the thick bush. No doubt it’s a very common bird in Singapore, but somehow Tisu Boy has no good picture of it. So when we saw it not moving, we thought it was a good chance to take some nice pictures.

Then suddenly the bird swooped down and started attacking at something. A look through the binos showed a big spider web, but we couldn’t see any spider except some dried leaves hanging on it. The oriole continued raiding the web but it must be quite a strong and sticky one cos the bird seemed to be having some difficulty getting passed to its prey.

The persistent Black-naped Oriole raiding at the web

We couldn’t see any spider so Tisu Boy had a tough time taking all the actions
as we didn’t know where the Oriole was aiming for. But it seemed like he was
going for the dried leaves! A pity we couldn’t get the whole bird in the frame…
Everything happened so fast, like a flash! 

We didn’t witness the oriole with any catch from the web. He must be exhausted and didn’t want to risk being stuck by the spider web as he eventually gave up after a few more failed attempts and flew off in search of easier prey

It was only then that we could go slightly nearer to take a closer look. The web was hidden among the thick bush and there was no way we could bash in to examine closer. Looking through the binos, we finally saw the spider!

So it was a Red-tent Spider (Cyrtophora unicolor)! Itchyfingers has
read about this spider but this was the first one I ever saw it in the wild!
Red-tent Spider is a kind of Orb-Web Spider that builds what appears
to be a three-dimensional irregular web

Then on another day, Itchyfingers were at Pasir Ris Park walking on the mangrove boardwalk when we chanced upon this one at eye-level…Finally we could take a better look at the Red-tent Spider!

Wow! It was huge! I think the body must be about 20 mm long. Females are
bigger at 17 – 20 mm. This site suggests that males are rarer to find possibly 
because they are smaller and less conspicuous compared to the females.
The web of the Red-tent Spider usually has one or two curled up dried leaves
in the centre where the spider would be hiding inside 

We were totally unprepared for this find as we only had our long lens for taking birds. Imagine Tisu Boy having to step as far as possible to the edge of the boardwalk in order to focus and photograph this spider! Hahah…

Although the Red-tent Spiders are supposed to be quite common, but I think you will still have to be quite observant and lucky to find one, especially when they are found in dense vegetation in mangrove swamps. So certainly Itchyfingers didn’t expect to be third time lucky! This time we saw one at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve…and boy, what a beauty!

Look at the red colour on her body! This time we had macro lens but the
three-dimensional web got into the way so that was the closest we could go.
The spider was having her packed lunch of what looked like a silk-bundled
beetle meal! 

Also see related posts:
> Jaws – Spidey Galore #1
> Eating Its Own Kind? – Spidey Galore #2 


1 Comment »

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  1. Nice spider, wish we had big ones like that around here.

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