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.

New Species Maratus Jumping Spider Western Australia

New Species Lycidas Maratus Jumping Spider New Species Lycidas Maratus Jumping Spider New Species Lycidas Maratus Jumping Spider New Species Lycidas Maratus Jumping Spider New Species Lycidas Maratus Jumping Spider femaleNew Species Lycidas Maratus Jumping Spider femaleScreen Shot 2017-11-18 at 5.53.29 amScreen Shot 2017-11-18 at 5.54.16 amScreen Shot 2017-11-18 at 5.54.30 amScreen Shot 2017-11-18 at 5.54.42 amScreen Shot 2017-11-18 at 5.54.51 amScreen Shot 2017-11-18 at 6.27.49 amScreen Shot 2017-11-18 at 6.28.04 amScreen Shot 2017-11-18 at 5.55.36 amScreen Shot 2017-11-18 at 5.56.00 amScreen Shot 2017-11-18 at 6.27.34 amScreen Shot 2017-11-18 at 5.56.15 amScreen Shot 2017-11-18 at 5.56.39 amScreen Shot 2017-11-18 at 5.57.30 am

Wesley and I have had a busy few days this week.  We’ve travelled inland to see some friends and hang out in Coorow.  We’ve been gardening and digging up some plants in the yard.  One of us has learned that the pool is an amazing place on a hot sunny day (and is due to start swimming lessons tomorrow too!).

Yesterday we met with a fellow Canadian and her son for a nice walk and play in Greenhead.  There is a really beautiful park there that is basically enclosed by bushes and Wesley and his little friend were able to run amok within a safe space.  We were enjoying our coffees and the scenery.  The weather has run a bit cooler this week and last night it poured down on the farm… which was a nice change as two nights prior we had quite a bit of lightning and at least one fire on the horizon.  Its safe to say that I did not sleep very well that night.

Most days when Wesley is having a long nap I move around the yard and pull weeds and take a look at what’s moving about my feet.  Sometimes I see little movements that catch my eye.  With the jumping spider I actually didn’t take too much notice of him at first.  I thought I should try and get a photo but then as I was taking the image I saw the tips of his back legs stretch out to almost wave at something. It was then that I realised I’d found something very special.  At first I was so excited that it might be a new species, I called Mike and Tessa to tell them and send some images.  I then scoured some resources online and found that it’s common and closely related to the#peacockspider maratus species.

You know what, it’s still a huge find.  This little spider called#lycidaschrysomelas was so incredibly small I strained my eyes to keep track of it.  I’ve included a photo (it’s not the best quality) to show the size next to my index finger.  Note my hands are smallish.

He’s absolutely beautiful along with all the others.  I’ve been throughly impressed by nature this week, and can’t wait to see what else is out there.  Till next time… here is a list of what’s pictured above.

  1. maratus jumping spider male and female (she’s pale and creamy).  I was able to begin to identify them with this site.  It is the second new species possibly genus of spider that I’ve discovered on the property in the past week.  A variant of this new species will be featured in another post.
  2. Solid Black Christmas Spider (the first we’ve seen that looks like this, normally they are white and black with orange
  3. THARPYNA (CRAB SPIDER)
  4. Leaf Beetle #paropsisternadecolorata
  5. Oxyopidae – Lynx Spider
  6. A little flower segue – these are white verticorida commonly named lambs ear or wild cauliflower #verticordiaeriocephala
  7. An unidentified jumping spider – may be another female but it’s not clear at this stage.
  8. The bush caught between a cropped paddock on our way home from Coorow
  9. A slender skink found just in our car port called a #westcoastctnenotus

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!

The Fern Walk – Tōtara Forest Reserve

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Wesley was in daycare today so I took the opportunity to drive up to the Pohongina and spend some time in the forest peering at fungus and listening to the birds whilst carefully plodding through thick goopy mud.  Within minutes my feet were soaked, normally that would bother me, but today I embraced the icy water on my toes…  It was really fresh and crisp under the shade of the trees, and the chill really invigorated me.

I came home a few hours later feeling much better.  It was exhilarating; exploring, looking to find the gorgeous colourful fungus growing on the ground, consuming the dead bark, and the fallen leaves.  I also noticed a few birds, some tui and fan tails were flitting around taking a peek at me, as I peeked at them.

A man was also fly fishing in the Pohangina river – and I thought of Mike coming out to the same spot in search of trout… Simply put, he is deeply missed around these parts and we are so looking forward to reuniting with him.  We may know in the next week!

Long distance has been challenging, so thankfully there is the forest to help me regroup and prepare for the next few weeks.

Below details a short story taken from the Papatoetoe Central Schools website about the Māori connection to the tōtara tree…  Read on!

The Totara in Maori Legend – Rata and the Tree

Rata was in the forest wandering about wondering what to do about retrieving the body of his father who had recently died when he decided he would chop down a tree and build a waka.

He selected a Totara, felled it, and went home planning to return in the morning to begin building the waka. When he did return he found the tree wasnt lying on the ground as he’d left it but standing as if it had never been felled.

He chopped the tree down again this time trimming the trunk and removing the bark and and went home with the same result when he returned the next day.

He chopped the tree down a third time, this time trimming and shaping the tree and scooping out the inside and decided to sneak back during the night to see what was happening

When he approached the tree in the dark he saw to his amazement that birds and insects were reassembling the tree to return it to its original state.

Rata apologised for chopping down the Totara and explained why he was doing so (to retrieve his Father), then offered to help lift the Totara back into place.

When dawn came Rata was ll alone, the little creatures had gone, and the Totara was back in its original state. Rata vowed to never chop down another tree, and a voice near him told him that he may, but he must ask permission from Tane Mahuta first.

As Rata returned home he came across a mighty war canoe sitting on logs in the forest, and he asked if it was his, and the voice said “yes, Rata’s waka”

It happened so quickly…

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Friday 14th April

I have been periodically looking at the stationary caterpillars this morning and was away from them about 20 minutes when this amazing transformation had already taken place.  We have one left to make the change into a chrysalis and I’m hoping to capture it on film…we’ll see if it manages to happen when we’re paying attention.

I honestly cannot believe how quickly the caterpillar shed it’s skin to become this capsule of green.

Saturday 15th April

The more smooth capsule photo was taken (3rd image down) after 24 hours.  The golden markings are quite beautiful and it’s simply amazing how delicate and yet ornate it is.

This morning we went to a little boys first birthday.  We’d wrapped a few books as gifts and were getting ready when I decided it would be nice to also gift him a monarch caterpillar with some swan plant leaves in a mason jar in the hopes that it too would transform for him and become a butterfly.  We were at the part enjoying the good food and company, when it came time to open the presents.  The mason jar was unwrapped and quickly a hush fell on the crowd.  The little boys father looked at me and said “My grandfather passed away one year ago, he bred butterflies.  My son Te Ahorangi was named after him’.  He had the faintest smile and it was apparent he was feeling sentimental…almost emotional.  It was a beautiful revelation.

It’s later in the evening on the same day – and Mike and I still are baffled as to the sheer coincidence and connectedness of the universe.  We have been pondering the odds of this happening…

Hopefully when the butterfly emerges we’ll be ready!  I’ll be posting more images as the week progresses.  I think we should have 2 butterflies emerging in approximately 6 days.

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Thursday 20th April

So far there have been little changes in the pods – the lines of the wings can be seen more clearly and the top end of the structure appears to be getting darker… this could mean maybe tomorrow we may see one open?  Finger crossed!