Lake Repulse Dam to Catagunya Dam – posting 4 of 13

One of the spiders and the predominant butterflies both attracted my attention because of their prominent orange colourings.  The landscape they lived in was dry and remote and I wondered if the spider’s colouring was a way of distracting or attracting the butterflies onto their web (can butterflies see in colour?).

The spiders caused me considerable work with my trusty walking stick, a stout branch I picked up early in my walk. I was forever circulating the stick in front of me to relocate the spiders and their webs to the side and let me pass. The spiders spread long thick stranded web lines between bushes and tall grasses and tree branches, and then spread their long legs in the centre of a normal circular web at around my chest level.  I guess the whole spider would be around the size of a 50 cent piece. Beautifully camouflaged against a vegetation backdrop coloured in browns, beiges and greys, the odd orange marking was the only way in which the spiders became visible.  You cannot see any of them in the photos below, but they were there.  Hundreds of them. Everywhere.

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I checked the database of all Tasmanian Spiders and did not find a photo corresponding with my memory of the spider on the hills with the orange markings.  I was stunned by the high number of spiders endemic and imported into Tasmania, as listed on this comprehensive website.  I am not so much frightened of spiders rather I never enjoy eight legs running fast and uncontrolled over my body without permission.

An overview of Tasmania’s butterflies indicates 39 varieties are endemic.  After perusing Insects of Tasmania,  I believe the orange marked butterfly flying about the hills between Lake Repulse Dam and Catagunya Dam may be from the Genus Danaus and be commonly referred to as the Wanderer Monarch from the family known as the Browns  (Nymphalidae). But this is only a guess and the butterfly may have been one of the other ‘browns’ shown on this page of the website.

Perhaps a blog follower, as a specialist who knows Tasmania’s spiders and butterflies, can provide more information about the possibilities.

Surprise surprise … as  I type this post I ‘feel (imagine)’ things running all over me and I shudder at the horrible thought.

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