On a warm autumn night

by Patrick Kavanagh

A short (20m) excursion into the bush at our place on a warm Autumn night last Friday revealed that there is still plenty of action even in the somewhat cooler evenings. My first and most surprising encounter was with a Marbled Gecko, hunting on a Golden Wattle. Whilst I’ve seen a lot of Thick-tailed Geckos at our place, this was a first. This beautiful reptile was quite a good sitter for lots of photos, but was not going to move to a spot where I could get a view of the whole magnificent little body. Just up the limb, nocturnal ants were tending a what looked like a sort of Flat-headed Treehopper, harvesting the honeydew secreted by the insect.

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Marbled Gecko, Strangways, 6th May 2016

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Treehopper and Ant

Walking around with a headlamp at night in these conditions shows up the jewel-like glowing green eyes of Wolf Spiders on the ground. Their numbers increase dramatically after a bit of rain, so it will be interesting to do a check over the next week or so.

Wolf Spider_16-05-06_2

Wolf Spider

Other spider species were also abundant. One green Orb-weaver flattened itself as my light fell upon it, presumably trying to look a bit more like a bit of leaf. The very large palps had me wondering if this is a male and is ready to transfer some semen to a receptive partner. A bit translucent in the light of my flash, I thought it looked very reminiscent of a luminous squid in deep dark waters.

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Green Orb-weaver (male)

Also of interest was the remarkably camouflaged Dolophenes spider. I normally see these in wattle species and this one was in a Hedge Wattle. When they are on a branch, they are very hard to distinguish from a small dead leaf. This one in the middle of the web offered a great opportunity to photograph its spinarets.

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Dolophenes

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II

5 responses to “On a warm autumn night

  1. Chris Johnston

    Great photos Patrick – the green orb is not something I have ever seen – I will look forward to your future nocturnal wanderings. What did you use for lighting your subjects?

    • Thanks, Chris. I use a Yongnuo ring flash. It’s a copy of the Canon, works just as well at half the price.

  2. francescincotta

    Thanks for sharing these beautiful photos and observations Patrick.

  3. I have noticed for some time the glowing eyes of the spiders rain or not. I have quite amazed to see how many there are on the ground like approx one every couple of square meters. I will be interested to see an increase perhaps after all this rain.
    Nearly 80 ml in Glenrowan and still raining thanks for the phitos

  4. wonderful post Patrick! I love learning everyday from Geoff’s site, best wishes carlo

    On Tue, May 10, 2016 at 7:17 AM, Natural Newstead wrote:

    > pkavanagh posted: “by Patrick Kavanagh A short (20m) excursion into the > bush at our place on a warm Autumn night last Friday revealed that there is > still plenty of action even in the somewhat cooler evenings. My first and > most surprising encounter was with a Marbled Geck” >

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