Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Spider identified and mantispid emerges

We have identified  the crab spider as Poecilothomisus speciosus (thanks Colin). It is the sole member of the genus in Australia, and is only found in north eastern Queensland. We are not sure why the Australian spider has been placed in a genus by itself, whilst the related overseas species are all members of Platythomisus - had me confused.

Today the eggs hatched but only a handful of tiny spiderlings emerged from the egg sac. The reason for this was because an invader had also been occupying the egg sac - a mantispid.  Mantispids are mantis-like Neuropterans and some species select spider eggs as food while they are in larval form. Mantispids use two strategies to access spider eggs; some larvae find an egg sac and burrow in through the silk, while other species hitch-hike upon the female spider and enter the egg sac as it is being constructed. We are not sure which strategy this particular species used, but it was successful.

The mantispid shortly after emerging from the egg sac.

1 comment: