New Spider Discovered – Tharpyna (Crab Spider) Western Australia

Tharpyna Spider Western AustraliaTharpyna Spider Western Australia Crab SpiderNew Species Tharpyna Spider Western AustraliaYesterday I sent off a brief email detailing the behaviours of this unusual red and black spider.  It was found about a month ago at the front of our home here in Warradarge.  I first noticed it as it was scrambling in the sand (quite frantically) as soon as the sun started to dip toward the horizon.  It was new to me at the time.  Initially I thought it was an orb spider as I’d been referencing an Australian spider field guide and it was the only image that seemed to match my red and deep black spider.  Being the curious person that I am, I decided to contact the author to see if he knew what it might be.

The author (Robert Whyte) confirmed with me this morning that “It is an as yet unknown, at least as far as live photos are concerned, species of Tharpyna, you are the discoverer! It looks like it is a mature male, so it may have been frantically out and about for a quick shag before bedtime. Many crab spiders are daytime spiders, but Tharpyna are often under bark and may be night hunters. It is one of the prettiest Tharpyna I have seen. ”

So my first question to Robert was a little egotistical: Could I name it?  He wrote me back saying that technically I could but it would need to be scientifically named and also peer reviewed.  I let him know that I’m no scientist – and he was able to share with me the details of another expert based in Poland who might be able to help.

I also asked how he was able to distinguish that it was a crab spider and not the orb I’d originally guessed at.  He informed me that there were several identifying features that clued him into the species.  You see, I am a literal amateur.

“The eye tubercles, eye arrangement, general flatness and shape, shape of male palpal (sex) organs, arrangement of legs (laterigrade).”

I’m quite thrilled to share this news with you all.  It is a really great to know that there are new species out there for discovery, and that there are resources out there to help novices like myself.

I’ll update you if this little beauty gets a name.

If you have a love for spiders, or want to look at some examples of them from across Australia this book is worth every penny.  I also want to thank Robert for being so kind and taking the time to help me with identification and steering this newbie in the right direction.

-Holly

Western Australian Spiders

Here is an assortment of spiders that I’ve managed to photograph of the past couple of years from Perth, to Coorow and Warradarge.  They come in all shapes and colours…  Stay tuned I’ve got some exciting news about spiders to share with you in my next post.

Robert Whyte, author of the field guide “Spiders of Australia” has kindly helped me identify these beautiful spiders.  From top to bottom:

  • Lycosidae A Wolf Spider
  • Sandalodes scopifer
  • Thomisidae Tmarus sp.
  • Araneidae Araneinae Araneus arenaceus relative
  • Thomisidae Zygometis xanthogaster
  • Thomisidae Stephanopis ornata or close relative
  • Salticidae Apricia jovialis female

The comprehensive field guide he wrote has been incredibly useful, and comes with very clear images of each spider and categorises them in a straightforward and practical manner.  I imagine even people with spider phobias would enjoy the maratus jumping spider section!  If you’re looking for a copy take a peek at it here.

Flat Jumping Spider, Lycidas scutulatus – Western Australia

Screen Shot 2017-12-15 at 11.36.00 amScreen Shot 2017-11-10 at 8.24.13 pmScreen Shot 2017-11-10 at 8.25.02 pmScreen Shot 2017-11-07 at 8.03.41 pmScreen Shot 2017-11-07 at 8.04.23 pmScreen Shot 2017-11-07 at 8.05.09 pmEach day (or nearly each day) I’ve discovered a number of curious little bugs that live near our house.  The West facing side particularly has yielded a number of jumping spiders and strange critters.  It’s a bit like a treasure hunt, Wesley will go down for a nap and I have limited time to get on my knees and start peering at the sand and soil.

The images above are only from the past couple of days.

The grey flat jumping spider looks almost like his tush was squished.  It was found by Mike in the kitchen.  Keeping it safe from harm (Wesley) I transported it to the yard and took a few snaps as it scuttled away.

The lycidas scutulatus was found in the front yard on a warm sunny morning. I think it might be a female, but it’s an uneducated guess at this stage!

Simple pleasures.

Screen Shot 2017-11-04 at 7.43.06 amThis is a detailed image of the smoke bush flower – it’s wonderfully soft.Screen Shot 2017-11-04 at 7.42.46 amScreen Shot 2017-11-04 at 7.45.11 amScreen Shot 2017-11-04 at 7.44.16 amScreen Shot 2017-11-04 at 7.44.49 amScreen Shot 2017-11-04 at 7.43.59 amScreen Shot 2017-11-04 at 7.43.44 amScreen Shot 2017-11-04 at 7.40.08 amWe installed a cotton hammock on the porch facing the sprawling landscape back in September.  You’ll occasionally find me lazing about in the shade in it when Wesley is napping.Screen Shot 2017-11-04 at 7.42.16 amScreen Shot 2017-11-04 at 7.41.42 amThis was Wesley’s first time playing in a sprinkler… he was so excited!  Rightfully so, it was 36 degrees that day (it’s still spring here!)Screen Shot 2017-11-04 at 7.41.07 amScreen Shot 2017-11-04 at 7.40.39 am

A few days back I took a quick glance around – everything is coming together and just looked cozy and clean and clutter free.  We don’t own much, and those things we do have here all serve a purpose.  I said to Mike shortly afterward that there wasn’t much I need to be comfortable and happy here.  I’ve come to love the butter coloured walls I painted back in August, they work well with our furniture and brighten up the living room in a way that is really fresh and uplifting (but also subtle).

After I admired our space, I told him my short list of simple home pleasures…

  • a scented candle
  • a good book
  • fresh clean sheets
  • a nice bottle of wine
  • a new outfit quarterly (haha I threw that one in at the last second) Some of the clothes in my wardrobe have been a part of my life for many years now.  I have dresses and items that are 10 years old now, I still wear them.

I think Mike’s list is even shorter:

  • chickens
  • bees
  • fresh underwear

Another simple pleasure to relish here is in the image of the dip in this post.  It has been recreated through a recipe from a German friend who lives inland.  I’ve now had her cucumber dip a few times (near eating most of it myself almost to the point of hoarding it from others!) and it’s insanely good and simple!

Cucumber Dip Recipe

  • 1/2 cup grated lemon zest (you don’t need to add the lemon zest but I’ve added it to add even more zing!)
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt (plain)
  • 1 medium size clove of garlic grated (in the fine grater)
  • 1 whole cucumber grated with the skin on (in the larger grater setting) be sure to squeeze out as much of the water as you can
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Mix all the items together and serve on whatever you like!  It literally takes 5 minutes to make and about 5 seconds to eat.

Dear reader, what are the simple pleasures you enjoy in your life?

Verticorida, Pink, Red and Yellow

Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 1.48.13 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-30 at 1.46.03 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-30 at 1.45.36 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-30 at 1.46.26 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-30 at 1.46.40 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-30 at 1.46.50 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-30 at 1.45.24 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-30 at 1.48.03 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-30 at 1.48.28 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-30 at 1.47.28 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-30 at 1.47.45 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-30 at 1.48.53 pmThis morning before Mike left for work, I went to the spot where he found the pink verticordia that were featured in yesterdays bouquet that I posted.  There were some really stunning bugs flying about, and the colours of freshly popped flowers made it looks like a fairy tale – somewhere that we could only imagine.

It’s been a whirlwind week being home – and the past 24 hours particular were social, busy and brought many creatures into our travels.

Whilst I did not have my camera, I did manage to spot whilst driving:

  • 1 ornate dragon lizard
  • 1 thorny devil
  • 1 yellow pale snake that I’m not sure of what it’s called
  • 1 other new lizard that I have never seen before soaking up sun on the way to Coorow.  Next time I’ll stop and see what it actually is!  It sat near the edge of the road doing what in yoga is called cobra pose.

Did you see the scorpion above?  This is the first ever live one I’ve seen, and it was using it’s stinger to keep me away!  It was just underneath a box that was left in the sun.  I was getting ready to clear away some rubbish when I saw this strange form moving in the dirt.  Yuck!  I’ve always been afraid of them but this one being only 2 inches wasn’t very intimidating.  Note to self though – keep your eyes on the ground for Wesley will certainly try and mush it or eat it.

We met Mike in Coorow yesterday for his cricket game, and then travelled onward to our friends farm to have a little hang out in front of the lake.  The kids were all entertained by the water and dogs.  They had a huge sail put up for shade and a fake lawn with a boat to play in and a bbq for us all to enjoy.  We didn’t stay as long as we would have liked, but did travel back home before the sun got too low.

There is one type of verticordia in this batch that I’ve not yet spotted before.  It almost looks like a cross between a tea tree plant and a larger verticordia.  The colours out in this patch of bush are incredible at the moment.  The yellows, pinks, deep reds and creamy pale flowers stand out amongst the thick shrubs and deep blue sky.

There hasn’t been a cloud in sight the past couple of days, and yet again the temperatures are beginning to rise.  Summer… is almost here.

The jumping spider is one of the larger that I’ve spotted.  It had a glossy almost waxy spot on it’s back – I chose this photo because of the aqua thread coming out it’s rear…looks like a star trek beam for teleportation ahah.

Well – it’s been an epic week back, and nature has also not disappointed!