Money Spiders (Erigone) are "ballooning or kiting" (Wednesday 3rd November 2021)

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Money Spiders are "ballooning" or "Kiting".

Even whilst vismigging one can just sit and relax during the quieter times.  The weather was reasonably still and bright and I was relaxed just watching the nature go by whilst I happily sipped my coffee.

What's that? I glanced and noticed several little black balls going past my line of view and  only a metre or so in front of me. They seem to be suspended in mid-air and quietly moving left in a perfect horizontal line.  At that time my mind could not understand just what they were or what was happening.  So I decided to get up and follow these little black balls and soon realized they were curled up money spiders making their way to the nearest projections which happened to be the closeby hedgerow which they then found any protruding stem to hang on or hang from. It was something very special I was witnessing, but I had not got a clue of what it was all about, but that would be in itself a challenge to find out later that day. 

I found out the behaviour is well documented for these tiny little spiders which are of the family group known as "Erigone" and ours were possibly of the more common "Erigone atra".  This behaviour is known by the word "ballooning" or "kiting", which is known to happen at this time of year (early November). The spider will climb to a high point like a tree, or a plant or even a long blade of grass as in our case some one metre high wheat. From there the spider will create gossamer thread (silk) and then wait patiently for the next light breeze when he shall let go of his anchor and get blown in a horizontal line in the direction of the breeze, and all the time he is making gossamer thread and moving further in a horizontal line suspended until he reaches a target which in my case was the nearby hawthorn hedgerow.  I believe when he arrives at the destination he quickly retrieves all his gossamer thread in readiness for yet another advancing move.

When I examined close on the hedgerow you could see lots of these little spiders on or near protruding stems, which had obviously made the trip prior to my experience.  It was fascinating throughout to see all this going on and again just showed me how marvellous nature is.  I am so pleased I allowed myself the time to be nosey and to find out just what these little chaps and lasses were up to.  In fact I think maybe I should do the lottery!

By the way I checked out the same area the following day and there was no evidence of any spiders anywhere!

Here are some photos taken on that day in question which was Wednesday 3rd November 2021. 






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