Spiders · Urban Ecology · Biodiversity

Monthly archives for January, 2014

Lynx spiders

Lynx spiders come from the family Oxyopidae. As my supervisor likes to say, they are like a cross between jumping spiders and wolf spiders. As you can imagine this makes them very hard to catch! They don’t build a web to catch prey so they have good eye sight (like jumping spiders) for catching insects […]


Theridiidae is a very large family of spiders (Wikipedia tells me there are over 2200 species). One famous example is the Hawiian happy face spider, which is cute AND has an interesting evolutionary history (it is only found in certain locations along the Hawaiian chain of islands). The most obvious Theridiid species from Australia is […]

Jumping spiders

  I can understand why jumping spiders (Family: Salticidae) are often the poster-boys for spider enthusiasts (see Misunderstood Spider), they are so cute and charismatic it’s hard not to love them. They are also the family which Peacock spiders belong to, and if you haven’t heard of them you really need to watch this YouTube […]

Net casting spider

Here is another of my favorites, Family Deinopidae, Genus: Deinopsis They are called Net Casting spiders or Ogre spiders. As the first name suggests, they hold a stretch of web between their front legs and throw it at their prey. I’ve spent ages sitting watching them, waiting to see the action, but no luck yet. […]

Unique species of crab spider

This is one of my favorite finds so far: Thomisidae are commonly known as crab spiders. They sit on flowers waiting for their prey and are famous for their bright colours under UV light (this is thought to help attract prey). Crab spiders normally look much more like this, but there is often a lot […]

Argiope keyserlingi

Here is a spider most people in Sydney will recognise, the St Andrews cross. The female is very distinctive with yellow stripes on her abdomen and a cross in the middle of her web, so I assumed this ID would be simple. But then I came across these two. At first glance I assumed they […]

Making (slow) progress

Making (slow) progress

I’m one week in now. I’ve finished classifying samples from 12 plots (1 plot=30min of searching for spiders) and I have 346 spiders sorted into 54 different morphospecies. There are only 28 spiders in my “unknown” pile, so I’m not doing too badly! I’m trying very hard not to calculate the number of samples I […]

The scary world of spider taxonomy

I have to admit, there is one aspect of this research that really scared me… it wasn’t the collecting of spiders that worried me (I love the little guys and I’m yet to find one who is willing to bite me), it was the classification of them! There are more than 40,000 species of spiders […]

More than Redbacks and Huntsmen

I’m a PhD student at the University of Sydney (about half way through now, still loving it!) and my research looks at how spiders are affected by urbanisation. Normally I focus on Golden orb weavers (Nephila plumipes) like the one in the photo above, but an offshoot of my research is to survey the biodiversity […]

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