Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Losing grip

I happened across this scene of life and death recently. A Badge huntsman, Neosparassus sp. had just captured a katydid nymph Paracaedecia serrata. The katydid was hanging onto the branch above it with one leg in futile resistance.

Neosparassus huntman are small to medium sized huntsman, and tend to live within the foliage of the trees rather than on the trunks like their larger, flatter relatives. Their prey consists of insects such as katydids, grasshoppers, cockroaches and moths, but also includes other spiders.

Soon after the first photograph the katydid succumbed to the spider's venom, and was dragged into a more comfortable feeding position.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Turd burglars

These little guys have been caught red-handed feeding on a fresh Cane Toad dropping. They are springtails (Collembola), tiny arthropods which are share some traits with insects, but have significant differences and are classified separately.

The majority of the group lack a tracheal respiratory system, instead having a porous cuticle though which gas exchange takes place. Many species have a tail-like appendage folded up underneath the abdomen called the furcula. By snapping this rapidly downward the springtail can catapult itself into the air to avoid danger.

Springtails are detritivores and microbivores, so animal droppings hold great appeal.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Spider week

Here's a few eight-legged finds from the past week.
No doubt the find of the week as far as colour goes. This is Arkys cornutus, a small ambush hunter. This is the second species of Arkys I have found on our property. The other was Arkys lancearius.

The face of Holconia immanis, known commonly as a Banded Huntsman

A young female Golden Huntsman, Beregama aurea, sitting on the silver bark of a eucalypt.

A Leaf-rolling Crab Spider, Cymbacha saucia.

The same individual with her young spiderlings emerging from their egg sac.

A very large orb-weaver Eriophora sp. The web of this spider was almost a metre across.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Colourful visitor

This little frog turned up in our yard this week . It is an Orange-thighed Tree Frog (Litoria xanthomera), and is one of most colourful local frogs. This species grows to around 55mm, and is only found in north Queensland's rainforests.

This species is an excellent climber, and most likely spends most of its time high up in the foliage.

They are very common in the nearby Jumrum Creek Consevation Park, and on wet nights their calls can be heard coming from throughout the rainforest. They often call from low vegetation adjacent to water and breed within static pools, and as a result can make use of various temporary pools and pockets of water that form after heavy rains. 

This individual was particulalry colourful. Its underside being a mixture of rich orange and yellow.