Home Sweet Home.

Not all Australian fauna has been negatively affected by European settlement, just look at spiders that have turned the tables and colonised our buildings! Jumping spiders, family Salticidae, roam and live on our our brick walls very happily, and have been the subject of many photographs.

On the carport wall hangs an old thermometer,

and recently the sharp eyes of the lady of the house spotted a tiny jumper, barely 3mm long sitting on it. A couple of days later we had a look and it was still there, so we moved it to the bonnet of the car to make it easier to photograph.

And on the car bonnet,

A few days later, this time with a 2x extender on the macro lens, we set up the tripod to take some more shots. We removed the thermometer and were privileged to witness the following interaction between the male and a female in her silken retreat. Robert Whyte, co-author of the forthcoming book, A Field Guide to the Spiders of Australia, informed me and I quote, “Salties often live under bark and make a retreat with a film of silk, in which they live and lay eggs, staying inside this egg sac retreat combo with the eggs. It must think the thermometer is a bark-like habitat and get plenty of food from that base” The male started to approach the female from the right hand side, then changed its mind and moved to the left. it gradually approached to the point of touching her, but was then repelled and moved away.

This spider is probably an undescribed Salpesia species.

Thanks to Robert Whyte for identification and information.

Click images to enlarge.


From the Garden #4

Another selection of photographs taken in the garden ecosystem, beginning with a male Lasioglossum bee nectaring on the white Digger’s Speedwell. The second shot caught it just as it flew off to fresh fields and flowers new.

Shield bugs have been not uncommon,

including this spined species on the big oldĀ  hybrid correa,

with close by a batch of eggs, not long laid, possibly by the above individual.

The correa is a rich source of photographs, a mantis egg case with an arboreal cockroach nymph, Ellipsidion australis.

Damselflies find it a good place to hunt and perch, a female Blue Ringtail, Austrolestes annulosus.

Green Long-legged Flies have, like hoverflies, been in unprecedented numbers.

The Leptospermums are in flower and attracting a range of nectaring insects. An Australian Admiral, Vaness itea had been very elusive, but on this occasion was so intent on feeding that it disregarded the photographer.

The strawberry bed has also been a good photo spot with again, the green flies,

the attractive little cockroach nymphs,

and ladybirds.

And with so many insects about there are of course predators, in this case again in the strawberry bed, a lynx spider, either Oxyopes elegans, or gracilipes, the two are very difficult to tell apart in the field. Note the dark stripe on the front leg femurs, common to both.

Assassin bugs are predators that come in a variety of shapes and sizes, some are attracted to light, like this individual that came to the moth light in the garden.

Click images to enlarge.