Today, I came across another female garden spider (Araneus diadematus) with her prey and I watched carefully for about 40 minutes as the arachnid processed the food. These two images show the spider first looking head on (anterior view) and then from underneath to its “belly” (posterior view).
All images taken with the Canon 40D and the Canon 100mm f2.8 macro lens.
The anterior view (notice the six eyes or ocelli) shows the spider manipulating the bolus with the pedipalps (those are the two smaller appendages). As the pedipalps grasp the bolus, the chelicera (the two “jaws”) pull the mass in (and out) of the mouth. The chelicera have fangs with poison. The pedipalps have sensory cells that taste the food. Spiders do not chew their food. instead he pretty much sucks up what they eat.
In the second photo from underneath, you can clearly see all eight legs (if you look carefully, you can even make out the seven segments that make up each leg). The large dark oval to the rear of the spider is its abdomen (opisthosoma) which contains the intestinal system, heart and reproductive organs.
In the center of the spider’s body is the sternum (cephalothroax)from which the legs emanate.
The final two images are close-up of the rear end of the spider showing the spinnerets which produce the silk for the web.