Readers’ wildlife photos

Tony Eales from Australia (it’s Australia Day) sent some nice pictures of spiders, including a weird scorpion-tailed spider and a bird-dropping mimic. Tony’s notes are indented.

I’ve been having a lot of luck finding some oddball spiders lately. My favourites are members of the newly separate Arkyidae family (formerly in with the orb weavers Araneidae). Within a week over Xmas, my number of species photographed went from 0 to 4. I found Arkys bulburiensisA. cornutusA. lancearius, and A. speechleyi.

A. bulburiensis:

A. cornutus:

A. lancearius:

A. speechleyi:

Another real oddball I’ve been searching for ages and I finally located after Xmas is Arachnura higginsi, the Scorpion-tailed Spider. This orb-weaver is usually sitting in the middle of its web stretched straight out like a baseball bat at the end of a string of long egg sacs. When disturbed it can curl its ‘tail’ up and looks rather scorpion-like. I have no clue what this extraordinary feature is for.

Almost as strange is one I found in amongst my hanging plants. The False Bird-dropping Spider Celaenia calotoides. They hang under a string of papery ball-like egg sacs. You can see one in the photo. Unfortunately I think these have been parasitised by a Spider Fly larvae Ogcodes sp. that I’ve seen around the house recently. You can see the hole in the egg sac in the photo and there are discarded pupae cases in the web.

Here’s a photo from showing its resemblance to a bird dropping:

Photo: Adam Parsons, Hill Top NSW 2575

The putative parasite, Ogcodes sp.:


  1. Posted January 26, 2018 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Very good! I totally enjoyed that.
    I suppose the Arkyidae group was placed with the orb weavers for things like eye arrangement, or something. But they superficially resemble crab spiders.

  2. Posted January 26, 2018 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Fabulous spiders! Australia does seem to be the land of strange and beautiful spiders.

    • David Coxill
      Posted January 26, 2018 at 8:54 am | Permalink

      The 4th spider down looks like it has whiskers .

  3. mikeyc
    Posted January 26, 2018 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    Does anyone know what that large white “beach ball” under the fly’s wing is?

    • tjeales
      Posted January 26, 2018 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      It’s the calypter. I don’t know why they’re so enlarged on spider flies.

  4. rickflick
    Posted January 26, 2018 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Interesting to see you pursue these oddballs and finally succeed. Congratulations.

  5. Posted January 26, 2018 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Wow, what weird creatures!

  6. Dee
    Posted January 26, 2018 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    I love reader’s wildlife photos. Even the weird insect pictures. These are weird and beautiful. I had no idea spiders were so diverse.

  7. Warren Johnson
    Posted January 26, 2018 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Hi Jerry
    Looking at these remarkable specimens has provoked a thought. I have not heard of evolutionary studies of spiders. Possibly very interesting? or not?

    For example, Do spiders on recently emergent islands, like the Galapagos, show a pattern of speciation like Darwin’s finches? or something different?

  8. Posted January 26, 2018 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    Love these weird spiders. I’ve never heard of most of them and it’s great when wildlife photos show me something I don’t know.

  9. Diane G.
    Posted January 27, 2018 at 2:02 am | Permalink

    Wow, such fascinating spiders!

    The first three look aposematic. Anyone know if they are or not?

    Great photos, Tony! Thanks for sharing.

  10. Richard Portman
    Posted January 27, 2018 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, very nice! Mr W. Johnson’s question about spider speciation is interesting.

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