Spyridium vexilliferum ssp vexilliferum aka Winged Spyridium
Black Hill Conservation Park, South Australia – January 24th, 2015 – flowering has occurred after heavy rain a couple of weeks before
Lysiana exocarpi aka Harlequin Mistletoe
Aldinga Scrub, South Australia – January 31st, 2015 – dry, warm conditions growing on host plant
Photos & Text: Michal Dutkiewicz
Mistletoes create rich diversity because of the insects and animals they attract. They are a parasitic (hemi-parasitic) plant that has no roots of its own and grows out of the branches of trees. Their leaves mimic the dominant host plant in their range of distribution – Next time you’re out in the bush and you notice a section of the tree where colour and shape changes, chances are you are looking at a Mistletoe. Australian Mistletoes are renowned mimics and are not related to the “kissing ritual” Northern hemisphere types.
Gleichenia microphylla aka Scrambling Coral Fern
Class: Polypodiopsida or Pteridopsida (disputed)
Cleland Conservation Park, South Australia – August 2nd, 2014 – in dense mass along creek on the slopes of Mount Lofty – Cool, intermittently wet conditions
Maratus pavonis aka Dunn’s Peacock Spider
Mount Barker, South Australia – Longleat Property – October 17th, 2014 – on a warm, sunny day in the flower garden
Photos: Michal Dutkiewicz
Text: Michal Dutkiewicz & extra additions by Karin Dawson
When Karin Dawson invited me up to photograph Feather-legged Assassin Bugs (As featured on a David Attenborough documentary) and this Peacock Spider, I still couldn’t believe that we had one of these colourful Spiders here in South Australia! – There are a number of species of the Peacock Jumpies in Australia. They are members of the Jumping Spider family Salticidae, and this is, as far as Karin and I can ascertain, the only species that occurs here in South Australia.
Only the males are brightly-coloured. The species occurs from South Australia around the southern east coast of Australia, including Tasmania, and there is a slightly brighter variant with a slightly different abdomen from Western Australia that Jumpies fans from those parts might want to keep a look out for. I wish we could have gotten closer shots, but he was moving very quickly …
Karin observed the female to be about 8 mm long, and the male was only 4 mm long; a big discrepancy in size, but certainly not unusual in the the spider world.
Photos & Test: Michal Dutkiewicz
Many species of spiders show sexual dimorphism of this degree. The male stays over the other side of the web, and only zips over quickly to mate – He stays nearby though, usually on that other side, near her rear end, often hiding in the clutter of hollowed-out body parts of various parts of insects – I accidentally took some shots featuring the male. I thought I was looking at a blurry shot of the female until I saw the male in the foreground, and I then rushed outside when I noticed I had captured a shot of the male and took more and better shots – Photographing the Nephila was something I would do about once or twice a week – The male and female don’t even look like the same species!
Nephila edulis aka Golden Silk Orb Weaver
Female and nest
Dulwich garden – April 24th, 2014 – sunny, pleasant conditions
Photos & Test: Michal Dutkiewicz
Usually, I would see this female Orb Weaver in the centre of her nest, but was surprised one afternoon to come out and see she wasn’t in that position. After a moment of concerned searching, I saw her on a nearby branch, above and to one side of the web, making final touches to a yellowish, matted nest of spider silk and various forms of organic litter. Since then, the web was interfered with by someone, and she disappeared, but I am hoping some of the young have survived.