Sunday, June 2, 2013

Paralysed and waiting

We accidentally broke open a mud-dauber wasp nest under our house while moving some equipment. The mud cells were packed with paralysed jumping spiders of multiple species. The culprit was a slender orange wasp belonging to the genus Sceliphron obviously specialising in spiders from the family Salticidae. 

The adult female wasp captures and paralyses the spiders and then packs them into the mud cells. She then lays an egg before closing the cell over with mud. The spiders are paralysed, but not killed so that they do not rot and the wasp larva can consume them over time. I rearranged the contents of one cell for this photograph. A wasp larva is in the centre in the process of consuming a spider.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Break the drought!

It has been quite a while between posts, time flies!  We've been busy running our Minibeast Wildlife operation and working on a book...or two! We are currently working on the first of a series on the husbandry of Australian phasmids.

To get things rolling again here are some images taken over the past few months around around our region.

Jungle huntsman, Heteropoda jugulans

Cotton Harlequin Bug, Tectocoris diophthalmus. This species can be found feeding on a variety of Hibiscus spp.

A very cryptic crab spider, Stephanopis sp.

A hatchling Kirby's Stick Insect, Xeroderus kirbii. This specimen was found on Melaleuca just west of Kuranda.

Argyrodes sp. These bizarre spiders are kleptoparasites found in and around the webs of the large orb-weavers Nephila pilipes.

An assassin bug Gminatus sp. feeding upon a caterpillar.