May I share my enthusiastic invertebrate joy at inadvertently coming across this wonderful spider today (20/10/2013) while looking at a fat black beetle on a cemetery grave stone in Brockley & Ladywell Cemeteries (twinned cemeteries) in Lewisham, South London? This spider was relatively numerous in the cemeteries during late summer until four years ago when its presence had started to dwindle rapidly. I observed none last or the year before and had decided uncertain harsh climate or ad hoc municipal grass cutting into the spider's domain may have caused the Wasp Spider's disappearance from the Lewisham cemeteries. What a surprise to accidentally cast an unprepared glance once more on this single specimen. And, try as I might I detected no others in my perambulation of Brockley & Ladywell Cemeteries frequently taken in all weathers. What is surprising is the late season of this particular spider specimen which would usually have mated and spun its spiderling pod by end of August/Early September. Here we are almost into November with a Wasp Spider of size to suggest at least 2 weeks to its accomplished life.
Having recorded 'my Wasp Spider' on the past Sunday in Ladywell Cemetery - I diligently return on the following Monday (today, after between-while rain has washed-out a London urban landscape) eager to witness Her continuing presence during an overcast dour sky canopy threatens further downpour. My Wasp Spider has fled her web still strung against the base of a cemetery tablature. The centre of Her web where she had hung the day-before-yesterday munching on a catch is taken up by a new tenant – a glistening raindrop. Except there are tramped down-treadings in the long grass which ply a path to the spider's domain. Has some other creature beside myself detected the spider in question for its own purpose – taken or eaten it? Or, is the spider concealed in darker depths escaping, umbrella-ed for the time being, from inclement weather? Whatever! The Wasp Spider is not witnessed again these two days later. No spiderling woven nursery like the seed pod of Love-in-a-Mist is detectable roundabout where the spider wove Her trade. I gleefully came upon this special Spider the day-before-yesterday. The day-after-the-day-before-the-day-before (have I got that right?) I'm devastated.