Dewdrop spider living on the edge

A mature St Andrew’s Cross spider (Argiope keyserlingi) has set up her web between two maidenhair ferns on our back patio and I noticed yesterday morning that she had caught and wrapped a substantial meal, perhaps a fly or a small moth.

Looking more closely after lunch (my lunch, that is, not hers), I saw a much smaller spider hanging around in the edge of her web.

Argyrodes antipodianus
St Andrew’s Cross with a Dewdrop spider at the top of the photo

The macro lens with a close-up filter was able to show that it was a Dewdrop Spider, Argyrodes antipodianus, and even that it was a male (those “boxing gloves”, really enlarged palps, are the giveaway).

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Bee heaven

Regular readers will know that from time to time I visit a family property on Hervey’s Range, in the hills about 40 minutes out of town. One of its outbuildings is a mud-brick pump-shed about two metres square with a corrugated iron roof. A big, old, rarely used pump takes up half the space on the dirt floor. [Update: photos of shed and the bushland around it added to flickr 1 Sept 2013].

Walking into the shed is like walking into a bee-hive. There’s a constant droning hum and constant movement of flying insects. The walls are pocked with dozens, hundreds, of holes which look like bullet holes but are in fact bees’ nests. The insects are not at all aggressive so one can stand there watching the activity and gradually make sense of it all – and take lots of photos, too, as I did last weekend (for the record, nearly 100 photos in just over half an hour). Many of the best are on my Flickr photostream but I’ve put one of each species here too, to see if I can make the connections between the different creatures living together.

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