Sunday, April 29, 2007

Green Tree Snake

In a comment CeCe thought that there was too much emphasis on spiders in this blog. So it's lucky then that our neighbour called us over to see a Green Tree Snake (Dendrelaphis punctulatus) that was sunning on their fence. They are a most attractive snake, don't cha think. They are about 1.5m long and very thin with a lemon yellow underneath and variable but usually some sort of green / brown verging on blue on top. They are non venomous, mostly eating frogs, insects, worms and the like. I didn't find a good link to give you the background on them but I thought this was interesting.
Our's and the neighbours kids were fascinated for all of about 5 minutes then went to play in the mud.

Pictures here.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Arachnura higginsi



Hi Stephen,

Your spider is a Scorpion Tailed Spider, Arachnura higginsi. Here are
some links;


Graham Milledge.

-----Original Message-----
From: Dave Britton
Sent: Monday, 23 April 2007 8:23 AM
To: Stephen Clark
Cc: Graham Milledge
Subject: FW: An unusual spider

Thanks Stephen,

I must remember to send Andy some pictures of some genes so he can
identify them for me! I've passed on the spider pics to Graham Milledge



Dr. David Britton
Entomology Collection Manager
Australian Museum
6 College St Sydney NSW Australia 2010
Ph. 61-2-93206221 Fax. 61-2-93206011
Mob: 0414648008

Visit the Australian Museum Insect Webpage:

> -----Original Message-----
> From: steve clark []
> Sent: Sunday, 22 April 2007 10:57 AM
> To: Dave Britton
> Subject: An unusual spider
> David,
> Thanks for identifying the moth. It was Andrew Holmes, the geneticist
> formally at Macquarie University and currently my neighbour who dobbed
> in as being potentially helpful in identifying it.
> The next critter that has us both fascinated is a small spider with an
> unusual camouflage. It has an elongated abdomen with spinnerets at the
> of a 'tail' and hides in plain site in the middle of its web at the
end of
> a
> long fat mass of silk that it has constructed and into which it blends
> itself both in colour and shape. Overall it looks like a stick or a
bit of
> leaf. It is a daytime spider. It is about 2 cm long.
> I would have to say that this strategy is very successful as it has
> outlived
> several Eriophora, Nephila, leaf curling and St Andrews Cross spiders
> have been taken by wasps and birds from the same garden and has
> its web in the same place for a few months.
> I have some photos here.
> I would be glad to here your thoughts or those of a colleague on what
> may
> be.
> Regards,
> Steve
> =======================
> email:
> blog:
> =======================

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Say G'Day to Latrodectus hasselti

RedbackThe Redback spider is about as Aussie as they come. Instantly recognisable they should send a tingle of fear down your spine when you see one. They are one of Australia's deadly spiders and have an incredibly painful bite curtsey of their neurotoxic venom: Venom is produced by glands in the cephalothorax, expelled venom travels through paired ducts from the cephalothorax exiting through the tip of the spiders hollow fangs. The venom of the redback spider is thought to be similar to other Latrodectus spiders and contains a number of high molecular weight proteins. One of which, alpha-latrotoxin (a neurotoxin), is active in humans. In vertebrates alpha-latrotoxin produces its effect through destabilization of cell membranes and degranulation of nerve terminals resulting in the release of neuro-transmitters; its causes uncontrolled release of the neurotransmitters acetylcholine, norephedrine, and GABA. The release of these neurotransmitters leads to the clinical manifestations of envenoming.[11]
For first aid do not bandage the bite as this concentrated the venom which is less efective if you let it dilute in the blood, however you should apply iced water to the site and take painkillers to manage the symptoms (exotic pain) and seek medical attention. There is an antivenene.

The CSIRO recommend that
you destroy the spiders as you find them. Poke a stick into the retreat to squash or remove the spider, and destroy any egg sacs. Take care not to be bitten.

I particularly like the last bit of advice.

Readback at homeReadback on the bricksReadback in a crack

Sunday, April 22, 2007


Consuming and old tree root down at Bobbin Head

Nephila plumipes

Say G'Day to Nephila, also called the Golden Orb. She has lovley yellow knees and a beautiful golden orb web that is truly huge - this one had a web stretched out between two neighbouring town houses which is strong enough to catch an unwary bird, let alone a bug. I generally let them be but this one had to be evicted after I walked into the web when taking the garbage out one night. They have a creepy creepy way of walking and descending down on a web that gives me shivers to watch.

A rather large flower

Head stuck in a Bromeliad
One of the Bromeliads immediately outside our front door is currently blooming and has put it's rather large and, may I say attractive red flowers on display.
I cant be too outraged that it is not native as my Wife is also an import from South America.
Let me know what type it is - I cant be arsed keying it out

You have been warned

River Red Gum
The River Red Gums are an awe-inspiring site. Giant trees, each one perhaps a millennia or more old. They occasionally drop massive branches, just part of how they go about being a River Red Gum I guess.
Caution - sit here and die
Don't sit underneath one - you have been warned.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Enough Eggs already

Easter is supposed to be about nodding your head and saying yes - I believe that a Middle Eastern Tribesman got nailed up to a tree some 2000 years ago for suggesting that people should be nice to each other. Regardless of whether you think this one event in all the killings that have gone before or after is especially relevant I would ask that you refrain from celebrating this by giving my kid little chocolate morsels that; A) can kill her, and B) will lead to me the inevitable breakdown in the father daughter relationship when I raise my voice at her for not eating her dinner when she has a belly full of chocolate.

end rant

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Just one of the mums

I'm just one of the mums.
Be it looking after Adrian at a dress fitting for the bride and bride maids dresses whilst they are trying on each other bras and being measured in their undies, or at the beach/park/house with Alex's friends, or mine, or mothers group that are talking shopping, babies, feeding, or whatever other minutia of being a mum, I seem to have slipped right in. Nobody seems the lease self conscious or perturbed that I'm not quite one of them.

A day at the zoo

We became zoo friends.
I can now run the pram into people at the zoo as often as I like. We saw the seal show and chimps and patted a snake and saw some lizards and giraffes and zebras and fish and birds and koalas and frogs and, and and. Well - go see for yourself, it was a rather fun day. photos here