What’s green and yellow and purple?

October 24, 2011 § 4 Comments

Answer: One of the best looking orb web spiders I’ve come across yet!

Have you ever had one of those moments when you’re scanning the leaves of a tree or bush and a flash of colour catches your eye? Then comes that brief instant of excitement as you quickly look back to see what has tugged on the edges of your vision.

All too often this sequence seems to end with either an ugly splotch of nothing on a leaf or one of the very common residents of my area (such as plain brown acacia beetles… argh, they’re everywhere! ). But just occasionally, when you glance back, you realise that you are seeing something for the very first time.

* Click the images below to view larger versions*

Araneus circulissparsus

Araneus circulissparsus
Canon 5D, MPE-65 @ 2.7x, Full flash

The typical orb webs spiders I am use to seeing are large and shaggy, dark in colouration and all legs. So when I spotted this small Araneus circulissparsus, I was very happy firstly to see a new species, but also just to see something different. The fact that this small specimen is also a little stunner (in my very subjective opinion) is an added treat!

Araneus circulissparsus

Araneus circulissparsus
Canon 5D, MPE-65 @ 3.7x, Full flash

Small is actually quite an apt description of this species. At approximately 4mm from head to tail, it would have been all too easy to miss this one completely, and I may have done just that if it wasn’t for the beautiful colouration on the body. Luckily thought, that initial glimmer of colour was enough to register and send me looking more closely. It certainly helps to prove the point that vigilance is one of your best tools when looking for subjects!

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Feeling crabby

October 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

Regardless of whether spiders are something you love or something you hate, I would hope that most people would find at least something intriguing about them if they were to view them with an open mind.

When it comes to hiding and hunting, the Thomisidae family are right up there for me. While I usually only come across a few species in my shooting areas, they always amaze me with their camouflage and hunting techniques.

Recently, I was lucky enough to run across one of the less common species in my area… Runcinia acuminata or Long crab spider.

* Click the images below to view larger versions*

Long crab spider

Long crab spider (Runcinia acuminata)
Canon 5D, MPE-65 @ 2.0x, Fill flash

The long crab spider is classed as common but this is only the second time I have found this species in the last two years and the first time in my new shooting area. Sitting hidden amidst a grass seed head, this particular spider was holding the trademark long front legs in the customary outstretched position.

Long crab spider

Long crab spider (Runcinia acuminata)
Canon 5D, MPE-65 @ 3.7x, Fill flash

The reach that can be obtained by the front legs of this species is quite amazing, with the front leg length being over twice the entire body length. Given that this species is already called the “Long” crab spider, that’s really saying something!

Long crab spider

Long crab spider (Runcinia acuminata)
Canon 5D, MPE-65 @ 5.0x, Full flash

One of the things I love most about crab spiders is the broad, flat facial shape which lends something of a fierce look to them in my opinion. While they may be master ambush hunters, shooting this species, as with most crab spiders, tends to be enjoyable as they usually sit still in their impressive defensive pose.

All in all, I was very pleased to come across this little fella and grab a few decent shots. It’s also nice to know they are roaming around my new shooting area as it will hopefully lead to a few more encounters!

Revealing an identity

October 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

After what proved to be a fruitless search on my part in a previous post (Can you ID this one? – 25th September), I was very pleased to be given a lead by a fellow poster on the FM macro forums.

Tree hopper

Now identified as a Small acacia stink bug (Eufroggattia tuberculata)

Harold was able to point me in the direction or a shield bug, which thankfully was 100% correct. From there it took only a few minutes to track this species down to Eufroggattia tuberculata. 

Of course the head shape should have been a good indicator, but given the tiny size and high level of texturing (in contrast to other species of shield bugs I see), i was completely clueless. Funny how you can’t see the trees sometimes… 🙂

After a bit more looking, I haven’t been able to find much info on this little fella. While he may have given up his ID, he at least retains some of his mystery!

Anyway, another big thanks to Harold for the lead. Cheers!

State of play

October 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve managed any shooting and in that time we have finally had some decent rains. Many of my shooting areas were in serious need of water with brown rather than green becoming the dominant colour as grasses and leaves died off.

I awoke to a beautiful early morning and headed out to check my favourite spot. Even from where I park my car I could see the change in colours and sense a new freshness to the area. Gone are the brown hues and crunchy grasses, replaced by vibrant new growth and healthier looking foliage.

But the most pleasing aspect of the morning was the increase in insect life! Leaf beetles and common spider species are now abundant and in a great sign of things to come, I spotted many firsts for the season. Longhorns, solider flies, weevils, treehoppers and march flies amongst others are starting to appear but I was most excited by my first view of a Lantern fly. Unfortunately, the encounter resulted in zero shots (I didn’t get within 3 feet before it spooked!) but it’s nice to even witness one of these creatures in nature.

All in all, it was a pleasant morning which started with a lycid beetle and ended with a stunning flower feeding march fly and a full memory card. Now to go about removing all those dust spots from the images… *sigh*.

I guess I’ll have to just settle for posting one image now to tide over until I get to the rest!

* Click the image below to view a larger version*

Flower feeding march fly

Flower feeding march fly (Scaptia auriflua)
Canon 5D, MPE-65 @ 3.0x, Full flash

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