papilio aegeus

The butterfly in Wind, Dreams & Butterflies is a female Orchard Butterfly papilio aegeus.

My book “The Butterflies of Australia” by Albert Orr and Roger Kitching, says females are bigger than males and forewing length measured from centre of the wing base to the apex is 62mm.

The native habitat is principally wet open forest of tropical North Queensland but this colourful butterfly has invaded orchards and gardens right along the East Coast of Australia. The female has erratic jinking flight.

My lady would have been more interested in my Murraya tree than me for her larvae like to eat it’s leaves.

I bow to her for she danced round my head before seeking out a choice place to leave her eggs.

And here for you is an extract from a letter in Russian by Vladimir Nabokov, 1924:

All day long I wandered above the hills, searching out wonderful paths, bowing warmly to familiar butterflies.

Golden Orb-Weaver & Jumping Spider

Golden Orb-Weaver Nephila spp. can be as large as an adult human hand. The silk is strong. Jumping Spiders Salticidae have excellent eyesight and can turn their heads to look at objects

Spider 20200331-42J1 650H

March 2020 I found this beautiful creature with its remarkable golden web in my garden. Never before had I seen a golden web! What a natural treasure. I wonder what she ate apart from her mate whose carcass dangles out of these shots.

Here’s a closeup:

Spider 20200331-42J1cl 650H
and another angle of Golden Orb-Weaver Nephila spp. which can be as large as an adult human hand. The silk is strong.
Spider 20200331-42J2 650H

Next:

Jumping Spider  Salticidae

This Jumping Spider was on my door-screen frame.
There are about 800 known species in Australia and
apparently probably as many unknown.
They jump onto passing prey and have excellent eyesight.
And… wait for it! … they can turn their heads to look at objects!
And look at the funny little toes it’s got!Spider 20200306-42J1 and 1a 650H Salticidae

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Spiders Chasing

… And along came a spiderrrr…

Eeeek! Truly quaking I am! An enormous spider ran across the floor! More than 5″ (13cm) across (including legs) and quite fat!

It did not look as if coming to sit beside me (I’m no Miss Muffet on a tuffet, eating porridge). This great spider was racing straight towards me!

I’d not seen one quite like this runner, quickly grabbed my camera, got two shots of it to aid identification then grabbed a plastic jug to drop over it with intent to slide paper underneath to enable resettlement in the garden.

But Spider was too big, with great agility got away. The jug was 4″ across, that’s how I know Spider must have been 5″ because his… more likely a she! … her legs extended beyond the jug and as an acrobat she made her escape, shot up the wall, leapt down in a mighty jump and hid who knows where!

Frantically I pulled out books, heaps of archaeological magazines, towers of scribblings, punched cushions, dragged furniture knowing I could be in a spot of bother: several very nasty spiders are as big as my hand! Defeated I identified in my local wildlife book by spots on its back, head markings and arrangement of legs that Spider was a Huntsman (previously I’d seen relatively flat headed/abdomened ones – not fat rounded).

Apparently 30 species of Huntsman are found locally. Warning: never be tempted to swat or squash one as the abdomen can explode material “that can render the attacker blind for up to two days.”

Although my “panic” maybe unwarranted, I sure did not want Spider dropping from the ceiling onto my head in night’s middle. I was tempted to spray flyspray around my bedroom doorway for the night but did not want to kill a good mosquito/bug-catcher, or because it was so beautiful although remarkably scary.

Spiders & Butterflies

In my garden…

Winter is upon my garden, my friendlies gone for the jungle is lopped to let in the sun. Blue-tongue lizards are vanished, corellas and lorikeets too but my coriander is doing well. As I am. ’Though the last ocean swim nearly froze my head. However, the manuscript’s down to 120,978 words. An awkward figure?

Ψ  And now 2019 it’s 117,172 give-or-take a few words as I compulsively revisit.

Strip Butterfly Spiders 1200 x 165

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