'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

Go here to find out more.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Vagrant Spider (Uliodon albopuntatus)

Well, everyone at the party was morbidly fascinated to see the large male New Zealand vagrant spider  that came into the house last night, and, became suddenly pleased to just be putting up with mozzies outside, instead of this inside.  
I think this is a male, as his body is relatively slim and his legs are long. He spanned about 5 cm. I love his orangey pink pedipalps. He probably came inside looking for a mate as this is a common behaviour in Autumn.  He uses his palps to taste and smell, and also, through a special bulb that develops on the palps, to transfer sperm to the female during mating.

You can see his orange pedipalps clearly here.

A good image to show some of his eyes.  I think I counted eight altogether.

Vagrant Spider

       Here's a lovely male Vagrant Spider that came inside tonight.  He is about 6cm across. We have been having a BBQ party to say farewell to my son James and his lovely German girlfriend Silke, and the doors were open so I guess he thought he would pop inside and check out the place.
They are nocturnal, not well studied, and man, can they run fast!  This one pattered audibly across the carpet before I cornered him and got him into a jar.  I will take some more photos and let him go down the bank of the estate.

See the salmon-pink palp… I thought it was a bit of debris on the carpet at first, until I looked them up. In twenty-two years here, it's the first one I've seen.

Some people keep them as pets, and I can certainly see the appeal.

Loads more news to share.  See you tomorrow.