Spider hunting at Skullbone Plains

A laceweb spider (Tasmarubrius sp.)

A laceweb spider (Tasmarubrius sp.) found on Skullbone Plains, Tasmania. Photo: Cathy Byrne

We have been extremely lucky up at Skullbone Plains as the mild sunny weather has been ideal for collecting invertebrates.

I’ve been out collecting with spider specialist from the Queensland Museum Dr Robert Raven. To my surprise his unusual survey techniques proved very successful.

To attract spiders he positioned the 4WD vehicle close to a patch of woodland and left the engine running.  In a matter of seconds a large black spider, a laceweb (Tasmarubrius sp.), emerged from the leaf litter.

Who would have thought vibrations would have attracted spiders?  It’s not known for sure why this happens, but one theory is that the vibrations cause the spiders to get frustrated, even slightly ‘mad’ and become extremely active.

Female wolf spider (Tasmanicosa sp.)

Female wolf spider (Tasmanicosa sp.) with young on abdomen and egg sac. Photo: Cathy Byrne, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery

Robert has collected over 40 species of spiders on this National Reserve System property over the past three days.  One exciting sighting was that of a female wolf spider with young attached her back.

Kate Gillespie
Bush Blitz

Bush Blitz is a multi-million dollar continental biodiversity discovery partnership between the Australian Government, BHP Billiton and Earthwatch Australia that aims to document the plants and animals across Australia’s National Reserve System.

Skullbone Plains is a recent addition to the National Reserve System that is managed for conservation by the Tasmanian Land Conservancy.

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