Friday Photo: 27 June

June 27th, 2014 at 8:54 am by Chthoniid

Last week we got a pic of one of our smallest arachnids, so this week it’s one of our largest.  This is our native tunnelweb Hexatheles hochstetteri.  They emerge out of their tunnels at night to wait for prey to stray close to the web.  Which introduces the technical challenge of trying to photograph when it’s actually pretty dark.  They have the more basal features of four book-lungs and paraxial fangs.

Click for larger, higher res image



Friday Photo: 22 November

November 22nd, 2013 at 9:55 am by Chthoniid

Let’s throw caution to the wind and post a pic of one of my favourite NZ spiders.  This girl is Trite planiceps.  She has the common traits of a Salticid (jumping spider).  These include the large front legs, large eyes (jumping spiders have the best eyesight in the the Spider-world) and a small abdomen.  I’ve got her in a grooming pose.

They are a relatively common spider and pretty harmless. In fact. they’re probably quite a useful visitor to have in the garden as they’re aggressive predators of insects.

Click for larger, higher res image

Friday Photo: 22 March

March 22nd, 2013 at 9:25 am by Chthoniid

Today’s pic is of one of our native crab spiders (Sidymella sp).  It’s unusual to see them in their hunting pose during the day.  I got around this problem by photographing it in local bush, at night.  The trick was actually seeing it. You can see from the scale it is just a few mm across.

Click for larger, higher res image.

After the last few weeks of dealing with the elephants in the media, a changed of pace to the very minute was in order. 🙂

Friday Photo: 22 February

February 22nd, 2013 at 9:08 am by Chthoniid

Taking a short break from annoying the odd NGO ahead of CITES, here’s a pic of one of our local predators 🙂

Click for larger, higher res image

Fwiw, this has had the magnification boosted to a high enough level that the shot hasn’t needed any cropping.

Friday Photo: 18 January

January 18th, 2013 at 9:08 am by Chthoniid

One of the types of spiders that builds orbwebs, are not true orbweb spiders (Araneids). Their webs are often aligned horizontally rather than vertically. The spider also much larger jaws (chelicerae) than orbweb spiders. These spiders are the tetragnathids.

One of the most common of these spiders is the indigenous Leucauge dromedaria. This spider is native to both NZ and Australia, and I’ve been trying to get a photo I like of it for a while.  Conditions came together for this shot.  Purists may be interested to know that it is an “old school” photo, as the exposure was manually set, the flash was manually set and the focus was also manual.

Click for larger, higher res image

The link is to a much larger image.

I’m heading off into the ‘field’ on Saturday for 12 days, hence there will be no Friday photo next week.

Friday Photo: 12 October

October 12th, 2012 at 9:04 am by Chthoniid

A different kind of lurker- this is one of our largest tunnelweb spiders.  Typically these arachnids are nocturnal and do not venture far from native bush.Hence this pic is taken at night.  This particular species Hexatheles hochstetteri is one of our heaviest spiders, and was also one of the first to be described (scientifically) in the 1800s.


Click for larger, higher res image

While in general, they’re nocturnal and cryptic, occasionally one will wander into someone’s house.


Friday Photo: 31 August

August 31st, 2012 at 7:25 am by Chthoniid

Sticking with the arachnid theme, here’s a nice profile shot of one of our more endearing native jumping spiders Trite planiceps.

The distinctive traits of these spiders are their very large eyes (they’re primarily a visual hunter) and their powerful front legs with spikes.

Click for larger, higher res image

Friday Photo: 24 August

August 24th, 2012 at 9:02 am by Chthoniid

This is a common native spider, and its brown, furry appearance does prompt my daughter to regard it as ‘cuddly’. It’s our native Nursery-Web spider. In this shot the arachnid has emerged from hiding to position herself by the nursery at night. So this is a nocturnal picture (late summer). These spiders are still about. They’re common in the bush areas around our house, and one was even sunning itself on the bricks by our garage this morning.


Click for larger, higher res image