The chill of autumn has started to bite signalling a change of seasons and right on cue are sightings of the beautiful velvety Cape Autumn Widow butterflies. Hundreds can be see hovering above the grassy banks along my coastal hiking path. Dainty creatures flitting to and fro. The reference book says that they will deposit their larvae eggs amongst the kikuyu and low shrubs. I’ve began to suspect that hordes of caterpillars will soon be descending into my seaside garden. Only plants of a hardy nature thrive next to the coast and one of the species that does well is statice, or sea lavender. The fine, lacy flowers come in shades of blue, lilac and pink and they are prized as cut flowers for their ‘everlasting’ quality. Whilst the flowers have an almost papery texture, the leaves are a power house of green vitality. Of all the plants in the garden these are the ones which are mercilessly munched down to the stems and in the past a bristly caterpillar has been the culprit. I’ve not been able to track down the identity, but have a very strong suspicion that they are the offspring of those gorgeous dancing butterflies. Already there are the signs as tiny, skinny worms appear by the day. Investigating further i discovered to my surprise that Salticidae – Jumping spiders have also taken up residence. Known for their acrobatic flying stunts, they’re dubbed the bungee jumpers of the arachnid family. Attached by silk strands they’re able to launch into the air after flying insects and should they fluff it they able to return safely along their shoot lines. They’re also equipped with four pairs of eyes for excellent all-round vision. Would it be that they’ll be tempted to a juicy fat worm or two? I wonder?