Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Year Spiders

If you're arachnophobic, I must warn you that this post is all about spiders and includes photos.

This year's rain has caused insect numbers to jump, and our beloved spiders are mopping them up for us all over the back yard. Here are a few I found to share with you. All the spiders seem to be from the same family, the Araneidae.

First is the St Andrew's Cross Spider (Argiope keyserlingi), which sits in its web with its legs paired to make a St Andrew's Cross. Pity this one's web runs across the doorway of my garden shed! I have been crouching to go under the web.

Here is its underside, with another view of its neatly-wrapped lunch.

When I first saw this 5mm creature, I thought it was a beetle of some kind (apologies for the photo quality). It was only when I enlarged the photo that I could see the head and front legs. It is possibly a Gasteracantha.

I call this a stick spider, for obvious reasons, but haven't been able to identify it.

Our most common spider is the Garden Orb Weaver (Eriophora spp.), which puts up a new web after dark. We have heaps of them about this year; many more than usual. I suppose that means that we have many more night-flying insects than normal. This one was sleeping the summer day away in a secluded leaf. Doesn't it look peaceful?

If you wish to live and thrive
Let the spider run alive.

Best wishes to everyone for the New Year!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas!


All the bells are gaily ringing,
Birds in every tree are singing;
Let us in the golden weather,
Gather Christmas Bush together.

Christ is born! The angels thunder,
Thru’ the Heavens their tale of wonder,
While we pluck for His adorning
Christmas Bush this hallowed morning.

Christ has conquered Evil’s power
Hear the bells rock every tower
Birds and beasts lift up their voices,
Freed at last the world rejoices.

Onward with triumphant chorus,
Following the road before us,
Singing thru’ the golden weather,
Gath’ring Christmas Bush together.

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope you have some time to play in your back yards.