Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Net-casting Spider

Net-casting Spider
In the quest for coolth in the house, we are having our hot and humid times, I've been leaving various non insect screened windows open as well as all the usual screened ones.

This morning this spider in its web on the kitchen bench. Its net at the lower middle of the frame. 

At 9 centimetres, this specimen about as long as my forefinger. The Brisbane Wildlife Guide tells me this is only half their size. That they are often the length of an adult hand. That could be 20 centimetres! (8 inches? I'm a bit rusty on Imperial measurements)

It was easy to move back outside, by catching it, not that it was going anywhere, on a magazine, net and all, and carrying it outside. It didn't move. 

Just as well. The one known bite by one of these caused severe reactions, says the book. Probably good I didn't read that before I relocated it onto the foliage of the sacred bamboo. 

According to the field guide it is the females that spin the net, at night, and that the net is a brilliant glowing blue 'which the spider swirls around passing prey with remarkable speed.' I wonder how the males get their sustenance?

Seen any of this sort, oh readers, who live in the sub- and tropics?   


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Seeds and Flowers

I may  have showed you this shot a few postings ago.

It represents an upside down azolla water fern plant, with its roots in two bunches either side, lying on a carpet of the smae plants in one of my frog 'ponds' (baths).

Cradling what I now know are a clutch of azolla seeds.

The plant lying exactly like that when I came upon the scene, might be the result of frog activity, them trying that pond for size, the right conditions etc, and upending various plants in their haste to get out again.

A hundred percent cover of azolla fern, while keeping the water underneath pristine clean, does nothing to make it habitable for tadpoles and other water creatures.

Since the great seeding event a few weeks ago, the azolla in Pond Number 1 has been dying and is almost all gone.

I don't know why this isn't happening in Pond Number Two. It possibly gets less sun, though with the summer sun almost overhead that shouldn't make too much difference.

Pond Number 1 has fish, red tails, adults and young; some as yet mainly unseen tadpoles; a bunch of larva from a variety of species eg dragonflies and at least four species of plants. Pond Number 2 has three varieties of plants, with the 'wort' flowering.

Submerged aquatic plant

Photo not sharp in the right place, I know. But the  yellow pea like flowers, the submerged vegetation is thready and by now very large.

The flower is less than 1 centimetre wide. More flower stalks are starting.

New to me. Anyone with any idea as to what it might be? And where it originates?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Life and Death

This drowned grasshopper, fully 10 centimetres or 4 inches long, about as big as my forefinger apparently drowned in the bucket I keep under the worm farm outlet.

I wonder if its colour, not a natural tint, is the result of it being 'cooked' in the worm castings bucket, in the same way that a lobster's shell turns red when it is cooked? I'd be interested to hear any ideas on this.

The dead insect had only been in the pond water for a few minutes when two blue worms came sliding out of the body. They escaped the voracious little frog young by sliding away over the vegetation nearby.

The frog young, tadpoles, love any insect or snail or slug that falls in their pond and will suck it dry.