Back-Porch Visitor: The Meal

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As reported earlier, recent human activity at our address discommoded a spider that has taken up temporary quarters on our back porch. Its web was trashed.

Less than 24 hours later, the spider had spun a new web and was ready for business. In fact, just a few hours after we spotted the new web, our outdoor housemate had secured its first meal–apparently a honey bee. Kate mentioned this morning that these (and other) spiders weave patterns into their webs with silk that are highly reflective of ultraviolet light; the patterns mimic ultraviolet reflections from flowers. The theory, reported in 1990, is that the patterns trick prey, which expect a nice cool sip of nectar, into entering the web, whose proprietor has a different notion of refreshment.

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