08:00 am and my family and friends were getting ready to go to the pool for their morning session of sunbathing. But where was I? I was down in a gully, hunting for lizards and fighting off mosquitoes.
As I slowly moved my way along the old overgrown riverbed, I kept seeing little creatures scatter off into the undergrowth before I could even realize that they were there. As the floor was teaming with life, it had a tight grip on my attention in case I missed the opportunity to capture the image of an interesting animal.
For a brief moment I lifted my head to wipe away sweat and there, inches away from my face was a Araneus Diadematus. Otherwise known as Garden Spiders, these arachnids are a common orb weaver spider and can be found in Europe and North America. They can range from extremely light yellow to dark grey, but they all have 5 or more spots on their back which forms a cross.
As the spider hung upside down in it’s web, I began to realize that this particular Orb Weaver was roughly 17 mm in length which is the average size of a female. When male Garden Spiders try and mate with a female, they must approach with caution as the females will often attack and devour the smaller males which are on average between 5.5 mm and 13 mm.
Once I had moved into position, I adjusted my focus and checked my composition before taking my first photo. As soon as my finger pressed firmly down on the capture button and the clicking sound of the shutters emitted from my camera, there was a sudden rustle in the undergrowth. I spun around and began to scan the area in search of the lizard beyond the leaves.