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

37

 

Fossils

Amongst Spiders, Bones and Ancient Shale – Fossils, Plant Impressions, Snails, Fish, Crocodile vertebra

On Friday, eve of The Lunar New Year and Year of the Rat, I visited the Queensland Museum and spent an excellent hour-and-a-half cruising the excellent “Spiders – The Exhibition” –  which I strongly recommend even if you’re scared of these amazing (and yes, sometimes scary) creatures.

Then, as I’m apt to do when in the vicinity, I wandered amongst the bones of dinosaurs… And became very excited: right before me was a display of an element in my manuscript!

Just before I’d set off for Greece to experience the main setting for my tale which already robustly was on paper and swimming in my head, I’d read a small newspaper article that men working on foundations for a new traffic overpass drew up ancient shale still smelling of mangrove swamps from millions of years ago and containing fossils of limpets, snails, a vertebra of a crocodile (like the ones still roaming Australia’s northern backwaters, rivers and coastal seas).

In the different layers scientists could read climate changes, steamy hot to very cold, very hot again and how animals adapted allowing them to predict, extrapolate forwards, consider how we too may adapt.

Setting the scientists rethinking too was a tiny limb bone of a fossil frog, one of the oldest frog fossils ever found in Australia.

Can you imagine how excited I was to find a display (I’d not seen before) of those very things – except for the tiny limb bone of the frog. I wonder where it is now?

20200124 Fossil cores Plant Snail Fish Croc-vert 400 mauve 3

The following notes are from the Wall-Cards at Queensland Museum:

PLANT IMPRESSIONS  (left of middle pic)
The sediments containing the fossils were deposited in a shallow lake. Oil shales are rich in organic compounds which are derived from algae and blue green bacteria. These filamentous plant impressions are probably from freshwater algae.

SNAIL (right of middle pic)
Freshwater snail shells are commonly found in the Geebung deposit. They are planorbid snails, which are air-breathers and are common in freshwater lakes.

FISH (left of end pic)
This skeleton is of a perch-like fish and shows a series of conjoined vertebrae and rib bones. The body of the fish sank to the bottom of the lake and was buried before it could be eaten.

CROCODILE (right of end pic)
This single vertebra of a fossil crocodile is partially exposed in the shale.

In the museum display, the vertebra of a modern saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) is shown for comparison.

The Queensland Museum is a terrific place to visit – always with surprises for me!

Link:  A Few Manuscript Reader Comments

29

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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