19 May 2010

Delena cancerides indeed!

I'm Winter-ing in The Otway Forest area and keeping the fire roaring is a crucial daily activity. Last night I learned to never gather logs from the woodstack at dusk, even if spiders don't upset you as they do so many others.
When I grabbed a log it absolutely seethed with freaked out Huntsmans.
The things you see when you don't have the darn camera!
So just now I searched online for a photo of 'Huntsman spider nest' and found this sad story:

'Dr Linda Rayor, of Cornell University, a Visiting Fellow at Canberra's ANU, says her study of Huntsman spiders (Delena cancerides) has shown it is the only one of the 1039 known huntsman species, that lives a social life with family members, and, of the 40,000 known spider species only 1% are social like that, and this species one of only two that does not spin a web.
Rayor believes the communal lifestyle has been thrust upon the spider by a lack of suitable accommodation in the wild.
With an adult female weighing up to 4.5 grams and with a leg spread that can exceed 14 centimetres, Rayor says the spider is limited in finding large enough spaces to live.
"They are trying to fit themselves into retreats under the bark of wattle trees and it turns out there are remarkably few of these habitats around," she says.
"The colony is producing all these offspring that want to start their own colony but they have no where to go."
The nest can be home to more than 100 spiders with up to 30 sub-adults, but the family ties only bind as long as the mother of the spider nest is alive.
Rayor says the mother defends the nest against predators and seals it off from attack, brings prey home to feed the family and generally keeps the peace.
On her death however, she says, familial loyalty is forgotten.
Because of the lack of habitats there is intense competition between sexually mature sisters to inherit the family site from the mother.
"I've seen sisters in fights to the death," Dr.Rayor says.'

( Gosh I hope I didn't start a Huntsgirl death fight when I dropped the log.)

Then, my Inbox had, in that amazing coincidental way the world unfolds, my usual newsletter from
REMO's Store in Sydney featuring
I hope all my new friends stay outside in the logpile tonight.


  1. I never knew Huntsmens were so interesting.

  2. I should mention the link to Dr.Rayor is the ABC Science website.
    Of course we all knew already that Huntsmans are sociable - they love our living rooms and stay for weeks (unless you get REMO's catcher).

    IF any reader does want to buy it, please email me first for my member number there - they will give my account a gold star for the recommendation. I love gold stars.

  3. I'm not sure whether I don't prefer Charlotte's Web to this grim spider's story.

    Such sociable creatures spiders, it seems except when under pressure and then they revert to being like human beings - sisters battling to the death -I know the feeling.

    Great photo.

  4. Yes, they love living in my bedroom. I've had 6 already since the start of the year. The latest instalment is a very active young thing. He/she amuses the cat greatly!

  5. I never used to be afraid of spiders until I moved in with the boyfriend. Now, if I see a big-ish one I will squeal like, er, a girl and make him remove it.

  6. Spiders are my friends. They are lovely.

  7. Unfortunately I too fight to the death with my territory. I don't like sharing it with spiders. I catch them if I can, but sometimes I need to drown them in Pea Beau.

  8. I can't help it, I had a huntsman drop in my long hair once and that's spooky.
    I love the film 'Arachnophobia' though.
    I doubt that spider catcher is effective, the little blighters move fast straight down the handle.
    I use a plastic bag on the end of a handle, whiff of fly spray to make them drop and then put it over the fence to annoying neighbour.

  9. That's not a Spider catcher! That's a Coppertop nipple ticker! (Comes with a free set of steak knives.)

  10. I wouldn't be tickering or tickling Coppy's nips if there were knives around.
    get yourselves over to Miss Boynton's for her funny cat photo gallery - there is one of a midget whose cat is as big as him - it's wonderful.

  11. I shall take your advice to heart and steer well clear of her aureole borealis and her Wiltshire Staysharps.

    (And that link would be Miss Boynton.)

  12. Declan the work experience whizz is here helping me