The huge orb web spiders that induce shocked looks in suddenly-observant passer-bys don't seem to last for very long. There are times when not one can be seen in the city's parks and forest fringes. But at the end of last year, a good number of small individuals barely an inch long could be found in the shrubbery, clinging to modest traps ringed by protective barriers of silk. They sat alone, for their homes were probably too young to be pleasing pads for uninvited guests. But the onset of spring and the final flutters of the migrant season accompany a palpable surge in sightings of both the commoner golden web Nephila and her batik-wearing cousins. Some spin their tales at eye-level, while others hang from assymetrical nets that stretch from tree to tree and harbour a community of red suitors and shiny stealers. A few probably fall prey to giant wasps or the mindwarping grubs of tinier waists. But many make a meal out of the cicadas and hoppers that blunder into their parlours and make out with small mates before descending to the ground to deposit the promise of a new cycle and bid farewell to a hubbier days.