The BugLady’s blog post to civilization who are pining for the wildflower season to start is this: get thee to a wetland and watch the non-flowering plants. Mosses, especially, are going crazy this days, their eco-friendly leaflets (the gametophyte part of the plant) bristling with the stalks that sporophytes, topped through variously-shaped spore capsules. Castle happier currently than once the canopy above leafs out and also casts them right into shade. Ground-hugging liverworts room covered by reproductive pits and also umbrellas, and any work now, cinnamon ferns will push up with the dead leaves and also dried fronds that peak the marsh hummocks. It’s past life-affirming.

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On a recent wetland walk, the BugLady noticed some moss that was farming on a really rotten stump. Stiff pipeline at the tips of numerous of the moss tree had developed a cup-shaped rosette. Turns out the these are referred to as gemmae cup (cups because that gemmae), and they’re part of the moss’s reproductive strategy. Follow to Dr. Jessica Budke, Herbarium Director in ~ the university of Tennessee-Knoxville, “The moss makes tiny discs that plant organization inside the cups called gemmae. This gemmae are moved away indigenous the parental plant via a splash-cup dispersal mechanism. It sounds high tech, but really is simply using the strength of rain. Once rain droplets floor in the cup the gemmae room dislodged and also can be lugged in the water together it splatters far from the moss plant. The gemmae may not it is in dispersed very far, however it is far sufficient that this structure is valuable for the tree to have. This is a kind of asexual or clonal reproduction. The plant has made a mini copy of itself the can prosper into a brand-new moss plant.


So, gemmae, the tiny “eggs” in the Easter basket, are favor tiny sprout that are all set to flourish if lock land ~ above a favorable substrate when they’re washed indigenous the gemmae/splash cup. Apparently, Four-tooth moss (which this moss most likely is) likes to thrive in the firm of an ext Four-tooth moss. One researcher found that sparse populaces were much more likely to use gemmae, i m sorry land and grow close come the parental moss, while dense thickets of the moss are much more likely come reproduce via spores, i m sorry travel through the air far from the clump. This might be a strategy come stabilize their punky substrate. The BugLady also found gemmae cup on some lichens.

Without additional ado, the spider.


It is, almost certainly Theridion frondeum, the east long-legged cobweb spider (BugFan Mike’s “best guess” is way far better than the BugLady’s). That a small, dainty spider in the Cobweb spider household Theridiidae. Theridiidae is a big family (maybe 2,500 varieties globally and also 234 in north America) whose numbers incorporate the usual house spider, of previous BOTW fame and the notorious Black widow spider.

The BugLady didn’t uncover a vast amount the info around this certain species, however there’s lots about the family.

Theridiidae are also called Cobweb spiders (because that their net style), and Tangle internet spiders and also Comb-footed spiders. Comb-footed since most varieties have a bristly comb near the reminder of the rear set of legs the is supplied to draw silk from the spinnerets and, claimed one source, come roughen the surface ar of the silk a bit. Tangle-web because of the an innovative ways some species deploy difficult silk (remember, no all spider internet silk is) (sticky). They’re discovered in woods, fields, edges and also buildings throughout North America, much more in the eastern half than in the west.

As usual with spiders, there’s part variation in color and also pattern, and females are larger than males. Click below to review more.

As usual v spiders, courtship is cautious. The BugLady found some tantalizing tidbits about male Theridids utilizing nuptial feeding to present females what a great catch lock are. Some family members secrete chemistry from miscellaneous knobs on your head, and the mrs imbibes the liquid throughout courtship (although it’s not actually known what benefit she receives indigenous it). Others space kleptoparasites – stealing food from the network of various other spiders and also presenting that to their prospective mates.

Females location as many as 250 egg in egg sacs the they stash in sheltered places, favor a urgently leaf. She remains with the egg sac till her young hatch and disperse. Below are two great picture series: click here and click here.

It’s a big family, and there’s too many of variety in the webs. These are not the tidy, two-dimensional, spiral network of the orb weavers – these are (mostly) tangled, messy, “cob-webby,” tent-like structures. Lines do of sticky “gumfoot silk” may stretch from leaf to leaf or reach every the way from the internet to the ground; once tripped by ominous (pedestrian) prey, the heat releases from the ground, hoisting the prey into the wait (picture Wile E. Coyote stepping right into a rope catch attached to a sapling). The vibrating line advises the resident spider the dinner is on the way.

When they catch an invertebrate (and lock considered great biological controls of farming pests), they use the combs ~ above their earlier legs to pull out a bunch the sticky net to wrap it in; and also after their food is immobilized, lock bite and also paralyze that (lots the spiders that develop trap webs perform it the other method around – bite, climate wrap). Many spiders don’t usage sticky web for this purpose, yet the stickiness enables Theridids to take it on food that’s much bigger 보다 they are. Once they’re no subduing prey, the spiders cave head-down in your webs or remainder in a woven hiding place.

Unique points that some Theridids do:

In part species, Mom enables her offspring come live in her internet briefly, and also in part species, she also feeds lock predigested food until their an initial molt, the just spider family that has this level the maternal care.In part species, males stridulate (make sound via friction), rubbing this under the front edge of the abdomen against ridges ~ above the rear of the carapace (the optimal of the cephalothorax).Spiders in part genera, including Theridon, space mildly social and also will construct communal webs.Some camouflage the webs by difficult bits of plant product to it.

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The BugLady observed a long, new strand that spider silk, recently, trailing in the waiting from its attachment on a twig the various other day. Maybe a newly-hatched spiderling drifted in from parts unknown.