Please send in your good wildlife photos, as the tank is running a bit low. Thanks!
Fortunately, Mark Sturtevant keeps putting photos in the pipeline, and we have some nice Hawaiian arthropods to see. (There’s another batch coming soon). His notes, IDs, and links are indented.
Our family had a trip to the Hawaiian island of Maui a couple of summers ago, and here are more pictures of arthropods encountered on that trip. There were some previous posts about this vacation in WEIT.
One day the family made an excursion to a beach area farther down the eastern coast where the boys could go snorkeling. I pretty much stayed in the woods with the camera. I did not get much save for the Hawaiian garden spider pictures shown earlier, and the wasp nest that is shown below. The nests of these wasps (known as the golden paper wasp, or Polistes aurifer) are very common on human structures, but I was glad to see one in a natural setting. This species also occurs on the US mainland. One of the wasps is carrying a twisted wing parasite. Can you spot it? Feel free to call out its location!
At a botanical garden I found this nice spiny-backed orb weaver (Gasteracantha cancriformis). This species is also common on the mainland, but this variable spider is the first one I had seen with red spines.
A related species is the Asian spiny-backed spider, Gasteracantha mammosa, shown in the next picture. It should be called the ‘angry cat faced spider’.
For this trip I had borrowed an LED ultra-violet flashlight from a friend. These inexpensive tools are useful for spotting various arthropods at night, since a variety of them will fluoresce brightly under UV light. The best-known example are scorpions, but actually many arthropods do this. I brought the UV light to Maui specifically because there are scorpions and giant centipedes there (never saw any 🙁 ), but at night one could see about a hundred of these brightly glowing millipedes on our back patio. I have no ID other than ‘yellow striped millipede’ from online sources. Why are some arthropods fluorescent under UV light? Readers can give opinions!
Our vacation then moved from the southern region of Maui to the north, in the Hana area, which was an adventure that I was very much looking forward to. This area of the island is much less developed and is famous for its tropical rain forests. To get there one must drive across the island to the opposite coast, and then drive along the legendary Hana highway. This is a narrow two-lane road that winds along the coast, with steep sea cliffs on one side and tropical forests on the other. Frequent single-lane bridges are encountered as numerous streams cross the highway on their way to the sea. The jungle side is frequently broken by views of waterfalls. It was breathtaking, but also pretty tense driving. Here are some links to show what the area looks like: 1, 2, and 3.
We stopped at several points to see this or that natural wonder. At one stop I found this nice Asian praying mantis (Hierodula patellifera).
But one of the highlights of the entire trip to Maui (for me) was the jumping spider shown in the next pictures. This is a male giant Hawaiian jumping spider (Ascyltyus pterygodes), which is easily the largest species from this family on the islands, and it should be one of the largest jumping spiders in the world. I was quite beside myself.
He sat there calmly at first, but he was a jumping spider and that means photographing them is on borrowed time. After about a minute he looked up at me with their characteristic “what are you doing?” look, and leaped into the dense foliage and that was that. The video in the link above gives an idea of the size of this spider.
For my last picture to share from the Maui vacation, I have this gulf fritillary butterfly (Agraulis vanillae). This was taken at the Hana Forest Preserve on one of our last days in Maui. Gulf fritillaries are also found in the southwestern part of the mainland U.S., but this is the first I had seen them.’