Readers’ wildlife photos

Reader Tony Eales sent some lovely spider photos from Queensland, in a country where everything is poisonous! His notes are indented:

A few of my favourite spider shots. The first is a cute little orb-weaving spider Araneus rotundulus. Only a few millimetres across, it can roll up into an almost perfect ball.

JAC: Here it is in a ball; photo from Brisbane Insects: (link above):

The next, Argiope ocyaloides, is another orb weaver. These specialise in weaving webs in the deep furrows in the bark of eucalyptus trees like the Ironbark.

Next are a couple of the bizarre Argyrodes species with their weird humped and reflective-skinned abdomens.

Russian Tent Spiders, Crytophora hirta, in the morning dew. These small orb-weavers can fill parts of coastal scrub and in the morning light it just looks magical.

One of the classic Huntsmans. The ones that come inside are well known for freaking out tourists and some squeamish locals. They are a large and extremely fast spider prone to sitting stock still them taking off at half an eye-blink speed. I’ve never heard of one biting. They’re very peaceful but terrifying. This large species, Holconia immanis, is only ever found under peeling bark of large Eucalyptus trees, not indoors. When you’re peeling back a piece of bark to see what’s worth photographing and something impossibly fast but about the size of a mouse shoots up your sleeve…it’ll be this guy:

This cute little jumping spider, Omoedus orbiculatus, lives on tree trunks eating ants.

A muppet headed Variable Lynx SpiderOxyopes variabilis. As the name suggests, they come in all shapes and patterns, but I’ve never seen one with such a comically swollen head before.

Last, a member of a really interesting family: the Thomisids (Crab and Flower Spiders). There are species from a few genera which are social to semi-social forming collective snare webs. This is the first and only social spider I’ve seen in the wild but I’ll be keeping my eye out for more. Xysticus bimaculatus, the Sub-social Crab Spider:

9 Comments

  1. Randy schenck
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Excellent photos. If the webs in the grass are specific to the Russian Tent spider, this is a very numerous species. I’ve seen this cover acres of grass some mornings.

  2. Posted April 24, 2017 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Ah, spiders already and I am just starting my day! This is good.
    I especially like your description: “When you’re peeling back a piece of bark to see what’s worth photographing and something impossibly fast but about the size of a mouse shoots up your sleeve…”. That gave me a nice shiver.

    • Dean Reimer
      Posted April 24, 2017 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      Trust me, you aren’t the only one. I think my entire body convulsed at the thought of that.

  3. Glenda
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Great photos with interesting comments. Thank you. Nice way to start my day – coffee and spiders.

  4. GBJames
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Not going to show this page to my wife.

  5. Posted April 24, 2017 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Another neat thing, Argyrodes is described as a spider that steals prey from the webs of other spiders. That is pretty cool!

  6. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    We have Huntsmans in West Auckland. Known as Avondale Spiders, probably an Australian import. We used to have a beautiful big one in our garden, many years ago. Sadly, they seem to be dying out – they like overgrown habitats and we have too many wretched tidy gardeners now.

    They are exceptional for two reasons – one, they’re Australian but they’re NOT hideously poisonous, and two, they’re one ‘import’ that didn’t immediately turn into an invasive and threatening pest.

    cr

  7. Barbara Radcliffe
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    Many years ago here in Adelaide we had a ‘pet’ huntsman who lived in our bathroom. We named it Fred (probably actually Freda), and it would take food from one’s hand (sort of). If one swatted a fly, impaled it on the end of a pin, and presented it to Fred, s/he would happily ingest it. (at least I assume that it was happy)
    Sadly one day it got tired of walking around on tiptoe in the steam from the shower, and decamped. Since then all huntsman have been addressed as Fred.

  8. Ken Elliott
    Posted April 25, 2017 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    The visible side of the abdomen of the Omoedus orbiculatus looks a bit like the face of a gorilla to me. Spiders are endlessly fascinating. I would never have learned this much about them without WEIT, a positive side effect of exploring secular positions, I suppose.


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