Signs of Spring are starting to show themselves all around us now.
Although the temperatures haven’t warmed up much and we have had a lot of rain lately the garden is starting to produce new buds and there is a larger amount of insects around.
So as my friends in the Northern Hemisphere start to head towards Autumn and Winter, here in the Southern Hemisphere I am counting down to the start of Spring.
I will be the first to admit I do not like spiders very much. In fact I have quite a bad phobia of them.
However Jumping Spiders have started to win me over. I am not sure if this is because they are generally rather small or because once you have a camera on them you get to see them quite differently.
With their colourful shiny eyes (8 of them) and their long eyelashes. It is quite amazing what the camera will pick up that the human eye can not see.
The jumping spider family (Salticidae) contains more than 500 described genera and about 5,000 described species, making it the largest family of spiders. New Zealand has about 150 species of jumping spiders.
Jumping spiders have the keenest eyesight of all spiders, with eyes that are capable of forming images. All jumping spiders have four pairs of eyes with particularly large anterior median eyes.
Most spiders don’t need good eyesight, relying instead on other cues such as vibration to locate prey. However, the jumping spiders is an exception. It has two big central eyes to help it identify targets and estimate distance – important abilities for an animal that pounces on its prey. With its other eyes, it can detect movement virtually all around itself.
If you have a few minutes check out this youtube video on the Peacock Jumping Spider (Maratus speciosus). These colourful little gems are not in NZ but are worth having a look at 🙂
A brand new lady bird.
Not many people realise that when a ladybird emerges from its pupal stage, it doesn’t have spots or its end colour.
These form within the first couple of hours of it emerging.
The picture above is actually of a red ladybird that has just emerged.
The life cycle of the ladybird involves an egg, larval, pupal and adult stage.
Ladybirds look very different when they start their life out. The larvae and Pupal stages can be seen below.
Each female harlequin ladybird can produce around 1,000 to 2,000 or so eggs in its lifetime, usually laying them in batches of about 10 to 30 per day.
Adult Ladybirds will usually live for about a year.