I am at work on a longer post, and meanwhile am re-posting some early posts from my starter blog, on Delphi. This is one of the earliest, written in Strathcona, June, 2006. The photo is from Laurie's old film camera.
These little guys are so smart!
Ok, you'll have to click on the photo to see them properly. And even then, they're blurry; they were just too tiny and too active for our camera. But it's the general impression that counts here.
These are baby spiders, just hatched. I had seen some the day before, on the back porch railing. A yellow clump about 1/2 an inch across, vibrating gently. Up close, I could just see the tiny legs moving as they clambered over and under each other.
Half an hour later, when I came back with my glasses, they were gone.
We stopped to talk to a neighbour over her garden gate the next day. In a clump of sedges, Laurie saw what he thought was a yellow flower, and pointed it out to me. "It's more baby spiders," I said, and he bent to look at them more closely. Instantly, the clump disbanded, spreading out over a small web that we hadn't noticed before; efficient predators, commanding as much territory as they were able.
Laurie took his photo quickly, before they spread too far, but once he had moved away, the spiders again froze into position, still looking vaguely like tiny yellow flowers.
So here they are, newborns, out in a big new world for the first time, planning strategy; make a web, clump together to look like a flower so as to lure tiny bugs, and at the first sign of action, prepare to leap!
Co-operation and aggression hand in hand. I am sure many of them, not finding enough noseeums nor tiny crawlies, ate their brothers and sisters. But still ... they started out with that splendid group effort.
I wish them well.
Looking back from 2012, I think these are infant Cross spiders, Araneus diadematus. They are plentiful in Strathcona, and those were good years for them.