Readers’ wildlife photos

January 27, 2021 • 8:00 am

Please send in your best wildlife photos. I have a reasonable backlog, but it gets depleted quickly.

Today’s arthropods are from regular contributor Tony Eales from Queensland. His notes and IDs are indented; click on the photos to enlarge them.

I’m afraid I’m going to spam you with a few because I’ve had a good couple of weeks finding new weird beasties that I’m keen to share.

There’s been a lot of new life of late in the rainforest, with the spiders in particular producing slings (that’s what we spider lovers call ‘spiderlings’)

My favourite rainforest cellar-spiders, Micromerys raveni, are producing eggs and babies, and I managed to capture three stages in one afternoon. A gravid female, a female with eggs and a female with newly hatched slings on her back.

Also, at the tips of some palm leaves are folded tetrahedrons held together with silk. If you can carefully open them a crack there is a mother long-legged sac spider, Cheiracanthium sp. with her newly hatched young.

There seems to be no season to the little green jewel-like Chrysso sp.: I rarely see one without a clutch of humongous (relative to the mother) eggs.

I also love to find these tiny white Theridiids, currently undescribed but will probably go into the genus Meotipa. Looking at the developed eggs I suspect that spider eggs don’t so much hatch as just develop into slings. Does anyone know?

Finally, an unknown Theridiid mother inside a cured leaf retreat with her brood.

14 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Wow! Amazing photos Tony, thanks for sharing these. I am amazed by the DOF you are getting in some shots. Are you doing image-stacking or small aperture, or … ?

    1. I do a little stacking, maybe two-three shot stacks. It’s difficult with live subjects in the field. I have it set at f18

  2. Great stuff! I very much enjoyed that.
    As you know, cellar-spider eggs are remarkably revealing, with barely any silk holding a mass together (maybe no silk in some of yours), and the egg shells are very thin so its easy to see embryos.
    But in the extreme case of Meotipa, I wonder. There must be an ‘egg membrane’ (a vitelline membrane) wrapping the embryo, but I don’t see a hint of an egg shell. It must be extremely thin, and maybe its absent? Either way I don’t know how they develop without drying out.

  3. Brilliant. Spiders still give me the fear, and some of those pictures ‘triggered’ me, I’ll admit. But they’re interesting creatures, beautiful in their way, and these are excellent photos.

  4. I’m always amazed by Australian arthropods, and you supply us with a seeming endless supply. Keep up the great work and thanks.

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