while on holiday, i got the chance to do something i don’t find a lot of time for right now–go bug hunting!  the garden where we were staying was small, but verdant, and i found a few obliging subjects.  none fell into the notoriously venomous/aggressive category that seems a bit overrepresented in australia (like the sydney funnel-web, redback, or mouse spider).  this one is a philodromid (maybe Tibellus?), apparently related to crab spiders.  i just liked the spiky setae.

DSC_0383the one that caught my eye the most was this beautiful st andrew’s cross spider (Argiope aetherea; i especially like the genus name, which means “silver face”).  i’ve come across Argiope before, and was fascinated by the stabilimenta that some species weave into their webs.  this one didn’t have any but was pretty enough without!

DSC_0406and finally, one of australia’s most recognizable web-builders, the golden silk orb weaver, Nephila sp. (today is brought to you by excellent latin names; Nephila means “fond of spinning”, which i hadn’t yet found out when these guys last made appearances here and here).  you can see the golden color of the silk in this photo, which is interesting as it didn’t look that golden to the naked eye, and if you scroll down the wikipedia page you can see what must be one of the most impressive spider-related human creations of all time, a cape made of Nephila silk.  OMG.  this one did not appear to be all that industrious, just hanging out mid-air at australia zoo, startling anyone who may or may not have thought it would be funny to hide behind a tree for a prank.  hint: in australia… don’t!

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