Notes on Zilla diodia

Zilla diodia in web Copyright: Peter Harvey
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Question Box on Zilla Diodia by Dick Jones

From The Newsletter No. 21 May 1978

After the disastrous heath fires in Surrey and elsewhere in 1976, it is good to hear from Mr. Dick Jones who reports flourishing colonies of the above species in the Portsmouth area. In Britain the distribution of Z. diodia is limited to the South of England. In Locket and Millidge British Spiders Vol. II the authors point out that the species can be confused with Meta mengei in the field. Mr. Jones has been comparing the webs of the two species and states that the web of Z. diodia is of a much neater and more precise construction than that of M. mengei. The hub of that of the former contains about 12 visible spirals and is about twice as wide as the spiders leg span when it occupies the hub (which it does continuously). The web is constructed in a vertical plane in low herbage, often close to the ground and, in his experience, never more than 1 metre above it. The spider adopts a very strange position when at rest in the centre of the web. The cephalothorax is held at an angle approaching 90° to the abdomen and when seen from eye level (human) only the abdomen is visible. Mr. Jones asks whether other observers have noticed this? He goes on to remark that when the spider is disturbed in its web, which is in a vertical plane, the spider seems to jump clear of the web when it falls on its safety line. Most other orbweavers whose webs are at an inclined angle are able to drop clear of the web from the underside. He asks whether this jumping is unique to Zilla?
Added by John Partridge at 22:33 on Sun 8th Jan 2012. Return to Summary for Zilla diodia