Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Monday, December 03, 2007

A spectacular Spider.

The surprise of the day, yesterday was to find a really colourful Huntsman Spider. Not only that, it had just shed its former "skin" (exoskeleton), so I had found it at a significant moment in its life as well. The colours were really bright, but very likely that was because it had just shed. My camera appears to have recorded a slight colour change, over just a few minutes. So, perhaps it was beginning to fade, slightly, as the fresh skin was exposed to sunlight for the first time.
I have never seen such a colourful large spider as this. Naturally I gave it some space, as I was not quite sure what kind of spider it was. But it appeared quite docile - probably as I had come across it at this critical moment of its life. It makes me think that spiders are presumably quite vulnerable at the moment when they shed their skins.In the range of colourful spiders, few exceed the "Jewelled Spider" - an old friend of mine from my time in Canberra, where it seems to be quite common. The web is quite well constructed, in a vertical angle, with a gentle sweep, like the sail of a yacht. Here is a close-up of the upper side of the spider. Black spurs at rear, and red legs in front. I was pleased to find this one yesterday, on its web which was spun between the tips of several Rushes, in a marshy area, in Kangaloon, along Tourist Road. This is the underside of the spider, which shows more yellow colour. The rear spurs are visible on the left, and red legs, and two small yellowish fangs at the far right. I am not sure what the large round yellow mark is in the centre. Presumably this is where the mouth is located.Here is another colourful creature, a fly with wonderful green eyes. I believe it is the "Flower-feeding March Fly". (Scaptia auriflua).And speaking of flies, I was being "buzzed" by these really loud flies. I mean the noise of their wings was really loud. They would zoom around, then pause, hovering, for a few seconds at a time, then disappear in a flash. I have never observed this behaviour previously. I tried a couple of photographs, with very little success. But the image of the body is clear enough to show several diagnostic features (which I could not see with the naked eye). The black abdomen, with white spots, and the way that the two rear legs trail out, in flight.I am indebted to the amazing Chew Family, in Brisbane for their web site which has a set of extraordinary photos of this Fly. From their excellent (amazing) photos I am confident that I was being buzzed by the Lygira Bee Fly (Lygira satyrus). Apparently it is a flower- feeding fly, so despite my concern at its aggressive buzzing, it is probably a pacifist by nature (unlike those nasty stinging March Flies).

These spiders and flies were all photographed within a distance of about 50 metres from each other, so, you could assume that nature is in balance in this area.

1 comment:

Gaye from the Hunter said...

hi Denis,

very interesting post indeed.

I had an interesting observation in my backyard recently of two completely black fully grown female jewel spiders. There was not a speck of colour either on the top or underneath. I have never seen this before.