Webnesday (13)

There was too much going on immediately following my return from New Zealand last week for me to get this ready to post, but I’m postponing the final episode of my Bushy Park trilogy for a day to bring this to you on this new Webnesday.

While I was visiting my friends in Wanganui, I went out prowling in their garden in the late afternoon and spied what at first glance looked rather like a child’s small toy that had somehow found its way to its position in the crease of a leaf on their feijoa tree. Fortunately, my memory kicked in and I pretty much immediately knew what I was seeing. Squiddy has a wonderful book on New Zealand spiders, with which I have spent many a happy hour, and—apart from my very favorites, the jumping spiders—one in particular, an orb-weaver, has captured my interest on numerous occasions. According to the book, they are reasonably common, and I’ve been hoping to see one for several years, but until this day they had eluded me.

It’s a Poecilopachys australasia, commonly known as a two-spined spider, and it’s a successful immigrant from Australia. I was very excited and set up my camera on my new tripod (which will live in NZ and be there for me when I visit from now on) and, over the course of the next hour or so, until the light faded, tried to get a few sharp images in the brief moments when the leaf stopped moving in the practically-constant breeze. Out of more than 50 tries, I managed only one that had reasonable detail.

Two-spine spider 9161The next morning, I was pretty sure that it would have moved to somewhere else, as they are nocturnal, but after breakfast, on impulse, I went out to check—and it was still there! My first suspicion was that I’d spent a very careful hour photographing an arachnid corpse, but just to be on the safe side I took the precaution of setting up again and performing another half-hour session, getting ever closer, under the calmer conditions.

Two-spine spider 9169Finally, satisfied that I had managed to get the shot I had envisioned, I selected a piece of very small, very flexible grass and gently stroked first its abdomen (without apparent result) and then its legs, which it had folded tightly beside its head, and was rewarded with a brief movement of one leg to a slightly new position and then, shortly afterward, back again. I concluded that it was probably a female preparing to lay her eggs. I left her in peace without any further disturbance, and was doubly elated with the fulfillment of a long-term wish!  Isn’t she magnificent?

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About krikitarts

Welcome to Krikit Arts! I'm a veterinarian; photographer; finger-style guitarist, composer, instructor, and singer/songwriter; fisherman; and fly-tyer. Please enjoy--and please respect my full rights to all photos on this Website!
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15 Responses to Webnesday (13)

  1. Vicki says:

    Amazing. I’ve never seen anything remotely like it, but I daresay it lives in the countryside here in Australia (and I’m in the city of course).

    (and despite your frustration with the breeze, it was kinda nice to hear someone else took 50 shots trying to get something in focus – makes me feel so much better, Gary).

    Those weird pointed things almost look like ‘horns’.

    • krikitarts says:

      I hope you get to see one some day, Vicki, but as they are only active at night, you’d have to be pretty lucky. I was just fortunate to be in the right place at the right time, and that she was so patient with me!

  2. Wow! That is definitely unique. So you know what the first word that came to my mind was when I saw the photo? Jack-o-lantern :).

  3. Mike Powell says:

    I am not sure that I would have recognized that as a spider, even if it were perched on me. Thanks for going to such troubles, Gary, to capture such wonderful images of a creature that I am pretty confident to say most of us will never see in person.

    • krikitarts says:

      You are most welcome, Mike–but it’s no trouble at all. There are few things I’d rather be doing than prowling about, camera in hand, looking for whatever Frances and my instincts may lead me to, and then trying to make the best of the next opportunity. What great fun!

  4. Adrian Lewis says:

    What an incredible creature – bizarre and certainly surreal – and thanks for all of the details, Gary! Adrian

  5. Meanderer says:

    What a fascinating and wondrous creature! It looks as if someone has piped little bits of sugar-fondant icing onto it!

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