Archive for the ‘Australian Invertebrates’ Category
Posted on December 26, 2010 - by admin
Male spiders spend their whole life preparing for the time they will mate. All of their energies, movements, feedings, molting, and even the ultimate sacrifice of their own lives are designed to aid the continuation of their species.
When males are sexually mature, they transform a hunger for food into one of procreation. Before seeking a partner, the male needs to prepare for courtship by pumping his palps full of sperm. A male does not have a penis. He deposits sperm from beneath his body onto a specially constructed silken mat and from there siphons it into his palps. He is now ready for mating. (more…)
Posted on December 25, 2010 - by admin
The abdomen of the female Red-back is round and large with characteristic orange to red markings on the middle of her back. Mature females are larger and darker than males. In fact, males are often mistaken as baby spiders. The Red-back is often found in dry-sheltered sites in the corners of sheds, under tables, around pot plants and in outdoor toilets. Although the female may lay up to 300 eggs, as with many other spiders, the young are cannibalistic and only a few reach maturity.
No specific first aid is prescribed, as the venom of this spider moves very slowly. The use of restrictive bandages will only increase pain. Seek medical advice immediately, taking the spider along for positive identification. Iced water in a bag may be applied to the bite to reduce pain. (more…)
Posted on December 24, 2010 - by admin
Golden Orb spiders build huge golden silky wheel webs that are remarkably strong and often strung between small trees in woodlands and gardens. The female spiders are large and can often span the width of an adult’s hand.
Female Golden Orb spiders are characterized by the yellow bands that run around the joints of their black legs. Their slender body is a yellow-brown to silver-grey color. These spiders eat insects – even cicadas.
Bites from these spiders can be quite painful, and usually only occur if harshly provoked. (more…)
Posted on December 23, 2010 - by admin
The family Mygalomorphs includes some of the largest, most ancient and most dangerous spiders in the world. In Australia we have 10 families of Mygalomorphs. Included within are the Funnel-web, Mouse and Trapdoor Spiders. (more…)
Posted on December 22, 2010 - by admin
Spiders do not set out to harm people. A common sense approach will reduce the chances of your being bitten by a spider, and in most cases, prevent it from happening. Wearing suitable footwear and gloves while gardening and exercising caution when moving things around your shed or garden are examples of simple precautions that should be taken.
SEEK MEDICAL ADVICE IF BITTEN BY A SPIDER OF ANY TYPE
The vast majority of spiders are harmless to humans. A bite from most spiders will heal quickly, producing very few side effects. Even the more dangerous spiders in Australia rarely produce effective envenomations. (People react differently. The type of reaction depends upon a number of factors that range from the size of the spider, to the size of the person.) (more…)
Posted on December 21, 2010 - by admin
Spiders have a body consisting of two parts, the abdomen and the prosoma. They have four pairs of legs and six to eight ‘simple’ eyes. They do not have any antennae, wings or true jaws. They are found in every habitat of Australia, from the harsh deserts of our arid interior to the slopes and rocky outcrops of our snow capped mountains. (more…)
Posted on May 28, 2010 - by admin
Scorpiones and The Australian Scorpions
Scorpions are nocturnal, predatory animals that feed on a wide range of invertebrates, such as insects, spiders, and even other scorpions. They are found on all continents except Antarctica. Australian scorpions can be found from the moist coasts all the way into the arid interior. Along the east coast of Queensland, scorpions are often found in and around people’s houses. For unknown reasons, scorpions will glow brightly under ultraviolet light. This makes it very easy for scientists to collect scorpions at night – they just look for the bright green animal when they wave an ultraviolet light around! (more…)
Posted on May 27, 2010 - by admin
Macropanesthia rhinoceros or the Giant Burrowing Cockroach
These north-Queensland natives are the biggest cockroaches in the world! These insects really are giants (compared to other cockroaches), growing up to 80,000 micrometres (that’s 8 centimetres) and weighing up to 35,000,000,000 nanograms (about 35 grams). Like a lot of cockroaches, the female Giant Burrowing Cockroach gives birth to up to 30 live young. The babies will stay in the burrow with their mum until they’re old enough to venture out on their own. Being burrowers, these cockroaches have lost the need for flight and so they do not have wings. (more…)
Posted on May 26, 2010 - by admin
Chilopoda and the Australian Centipedes
Contrary to popular belief (and indeed their own name!), centipedes don’t necessarily have 100 legs. Unlike millipedes, centipedes have only 1 pair of legs per body segment, whereas millipedes have 2 pairs. Centipedes are carnivorous, feeding on a variety of small animals (including frogs and lizards!), but mainly insects. They catch their prey using their powerful jaws located at the front of the head. The last pair of legs in many centipedes is usually strong and brightly coloured, and although they look quite dangerous they are only used to grasp prey or wave in the air as a defensive display. (more…)