Saturday, January 19, 2008

~ a fresh infestation

Part of the advantage of having a jungle for a garden is the occasional unexpected appearance of new flora and fauna.

In recent times, there’s been unusual activity in the natural world of Mt Waverley: nightmarish earwig infestations, the rise of the native cockroaches, an invasion of revolting black caterpillars which I have been unable to identify - and now a brand new spider.

I’ll leave moot the issue of climate change, though to my mind it is certainly in play.

Like any house in this region, we have our resident daddy long legs and huntsmen, but over the last month in various rooms we have noticed, in corners, clinging to walls, a spider that looks exactly like this:

I don’t have a good enough lens to capture something as small as a spider, so I had to borrow the image.

My photo looks like this:

As you will notice, there are now two of the spiders. They are handsome-looking things, clean, having a kind of design affiliation with the stick insect.

The species is Deinopsis subrufa, the net casting spider, named after its distinctive means of snaring prey. It waits with a unique rectangular net grasped in its four front legs. When potential prey passes – either arachnoid or insectile – it casts the net to effect capture; its victims tangling themselves in the non-sticky silk or cribellate. I haven’t seen this happen, of course, but could these spiders have been feasting on the local daddy long legs, moving from room to room, methodically clearing out our age old co-inhabitants…?

These individuals are male. I have not seen any females, which seem to be almost orange in appearance…

I have not found any mention of these spiders colonising the inside of houses. Have they been forced inside, I wonder, or is this an isolated occurrence? Whatever the case, who could be anything but proud to share his domicile with such a charismatic lifeform?

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Anonymous said...

I don't know what it is Sam, but while you can see the "beauty" in this insect, I can't help but feel fear when I see any sort of spider whether it's big, small, black, hairy, stick-like...whatever shape or colour or size, it scares the hell out me! I really have a bad case of arachnophobia, but I can't put my finger on what's made me fear them so much. Even looking at your blurred photos of those two sent a horrible shiver up my spine!
I could never live with spiders in the house as you do (although I know they're lurking in here somewhere!)
Looking forward to the next "spider-free" blog Sam!:)
Love Amanda

lily was here said...

Hey spiderman :) I can appreciate the beauty in your spiders as long as they're not jumping on me. Venomous snakes are my phobia, we had one inside the house once. I couldnt relax for ages. We get the magnificent golden orbs frequenting our place, seen mainly at night up in the verandah and this one, though never inside. Golden Orb males have 3 penises you know.. but dont get too jealous, they break off after sex. I wonder if they grow back though?

Matt said...

That's a beautiful spider, Sam.
I grew up in country Victoria and spiders were our constant companions.
Back then it was a little odd to be in a room without at least one spider in a corner. And it was great . . . they kept the bugs away.
Of course, you have to be careful. Do you know if your new friends are venomous to humans?

Sam Sejavka said...

It's totally harmless to humans, so I don't know what you girls are squeamish about!

Interesting about the penises. In the play I'm writing there's a water rat with two [or may be three?] penises, which is under threat because an arsehole is using their genitalia to make custom fishing lures.

Alan Smith said...

Hey mate. I'm from Perth in West Australia, And my bro picked up one of these bastards in my nephews bed just this morning. I dead frightened of it, being an arachnophobe [which has nothing to do with being squeamish, its a chemical imbalance in the brain. dont be hating. XD], while its new home in a jar sat on my desk as I searched for what the hell it was. Never seen a spider like it.
Low and behold, just like I figured, its not from these parts. From what I read its not even supposed to be out of the east. Someone obviously didn't go through customs properly on their holiday.
Thanks for the article. At least now we know what it is.

sam sejavka said...

I've seen another one one recently, in the toilet. maybe it's a summer thing. Don't think they're any real threat. Not like white-tails ...ugh.