Great tit feeds chick, video


In this video, a great tit tries to feed a spider to its chick. But it is not easy :)

Hans Houtenbos from the Netherlands made this video.

25,000 diving tarantula spiders discovered in Australia


This video is called National Geographic Super Spider – Fascinating Spider Documentary.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Discovery of 25,000 diving tarantulas could prove lucrative for tiny Australian community

The huge cluster of newly-discovered spiders could prove attractive to scientific researchers from across the world

Doug Bolton

Thursday 25 June 2015

A tiny settlement in the sparsely-populated Northern Territory of Australia has been the subject of scientific attention, after it was discovered that a nearby flood plain is home to an infestation of 25,000 tarantulas from a newly-discovered species.

However, rather than this unsettling news making sure that no-one will ever visit the town again, a leading Australian arachnologist believes that this could be good news for the remote community of Maningrada, which is over 300 miles from Darwin, the nearest city.

Dr Robert Raven, a senior curator at the Queensland Museum, believes that the venom of the spiders, which is strong enough to induce vomiting in humans, could be used for medical research purposes.

Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, he said that “pharmaceutical applications could apply across a broad spectrum.”

The spider, which is commonly called the diving tarantula due to its worrying ability to survive underwater by creating air bubbles, was only discovered in 2006, and the full potential of it as a medical resource has not yet been realised.

The uniquely high concentration of spiders in Maningrada means that it would make the business of finding the spiders and extracting their venom much easier.

Dr Raven said that the normal colony size is only around two or three hundred spiders – around 100 times smaller than the size of the newly-discovered cluster.

The sheer size of the Maningrada group could be very attractive to biologists and medical researchers trying to find out more about the under-researched creatures.

Read more: Giant tarantula discovered in Sri Lanka

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Brazilian puts tarantulas in his mouth to save rainforest

Dr Raven hopes that the attractiveness of the region to researchers could work in favour of the small community, which is mostly made up of Aboriginal people.

He told ABC News that the intellectual property surrounding the spider belongs to the community.

He said: “This is a resource for the community in a number of ways… and this could flow back into the community eventually to help them manage the parks better.”

He added that he hopes young and strong scientists, capable of handling the harsh conditions, isolation and difficult spiders found in Maningrada, will take up the challenge of finding out more about the mysterious diving tarantula.

Damselflies, spider and young robins


Azure damselfly, 5 June 2015

This photo shows a male azure damselfly (let us hope my identification is correct; there are several blue and black damselfly species, looking very similar). On 5 June 2015, on a reed stem on the bank of a pond in Gooilust nature reserve.

In Gooilust, a swift flying. Great spotted woodpecker and blackbird sound.

Raft spider, 5 June 2015

Near the bank of the Gooilust pond, this raft spider. Not so big for this species, so probably a male. There were lots of algae in the pond. I hope the water will stay clean enough for this spider and other species.

Large red damselfly female, 5 June 2015

There were other damselfly species at the pond too. Like this female large red damselfly.

Near the exit of Gooilust, two young robins on a woodpile. They did not have red breasts yet.

A bit further on the path, a song thrush.

What southern European spiders eat


This video says about itself:

Arachnid Anatomy (Orb-weaving spider)

23 November 2012

A new spin on the usual anatomy video: field biology! Basic external anatomy of an orb-weaving spider, using a live, wild specimen. This is a Cat-faced Spider (Araneus gemmoides), a common species found near/on buildings in North America. I’ve used this as a model although typically the Garden Spider (Argiope sp.) is used in zoology labs.

Also: I let a giant spider walk on my hand. Ha! But it’s OK, they don’t bite.

This video was produced by C. Ernst, a Teaching Assistant.

From Wildlife Extra:

Southern European Spiders prefer a Harvester meal (Harvester Ant, that is)

The southern European spider, Euryopis episinoides, has a distinct preference for Harvester ants, researchers have discovered, and identify them without the benefit of guidance from their parents.

The young spiderlings innately have a nose for these ants, report Stano Pekár and Manuel Cárdenas of the Masaryk University in the Czech Republic in an article in Springer’s journal The Science of Nature – Naturwissenschaften.

Euryopis episinoides is a tiny, 3mm long spider that only catches ants – in particular members of the Messor group of which there are more than 100 species.

The female conveniently lays her egg sacks close to such ant nests but this is about as much parental care as she gives to her offspring.

Once hatched, the spiderlings fend for themselves and this includes recognising and catching prey, all on their own.

The Czech researchers wanted to find out if the Euryopis episinoides spiderlings’ hunting activities were driven by convenience or truly by an innate preference for Harvester Ants.

They tested how newly hatched spiderlings that had not yet gone on the hunt reacted to the chemical cues left by three types of prey: Harvester Ants, fruit flies and Nylander Ants.

In just under half the instances, the inexperienced spiderlings assumed a hunting position in front of a paper strip carrying the smell of Harvester Ants – even though they had never before had the slightest whiff of this type of ant.

The researchers also tested the reaction of more experienced spiderlings that had been raised on only one type of prey: again either Harvester Ants, fruit flies or Nylander Ants.

They found that food imprinting changed the spiderlings’ innate food preference. This was because the spiderlings more often than not chose the type of prey on which they were raised rather than Harvester Ants.

In another twist, the spiders used in the experiment fared better healthwise when they ate ants rather than fruit flies.

“Our findings suggest that prey preference is genetically based but also affected by the experience with the first meal,” says Pekár. “Such an innate preference enables Euryopis episinoides spiderlings to rapidly gain information about prey and to successfully locate their preferred prey on their own.”

“Innate preference is beneficial as it increases efficiency in prey capture,” adds Cárdenas. “It is, however, important that spiderlings hatch near to a place of high ant occurrence, such as ant paths.”

Rare Natterer’s bat in Dutch national park for first time


This video sas about itself:

The Natterer’s bat in the BBC’s Life of Mammals series. In this clip, Natterer’s bats remove spiders from their webs to eat.

According to Twitter messages today, the rare Natterer’s bat has been found for the first time ever in the Biesbosch national park in the Netherlands.

The animal was found in an old military bunker, especially reconstructed for wintering bats.

Save endangered spiders in England, petition


This video from England says about itself:

Plymouth native, the horrid groundweaver, faces extinction

13 January 2015

Conservationists are warning that despite its trifling size and shy demeanour action needs to be taken to protect Nothophantes horridus, which is found only in a single British city.

From Buglife in Britain:

One week to save Critically Endangered spider

To: Planning Inspectorate

A new development is being proposed in a local wildlife site which is home to one of world’s most endangered spiders.

Originally the development of 57 houses in Radford Quarry, Plymouth was refused by the City Council but the applicant is appealing the decision and a planning inquiry is due to start on the 20th January. Buglife are asking for your help to stop this development by signing this petition.

We are asking for the planning inspectorate dealing with the appeal to dismiss the inquiry for the development at Radford Quarry, Plymouth.

Why is this important?

Plans to build new houses in an old quarry in Plymouth, could push a Critically Endangered spider, the Horrid ground weaver (Nothophantes horridus), even closer to extinction. We only have one week left to make sure the planning inspectorate know how critical this site is to the spider’s survival.

This tiny money spider is only found in Plymouth and nowhere else in the world. It is only known at three sites, one of which has already been lost to development. The proposed development, for 57 new houses in Radford Quarry in Plymouth, would destroy the second site and a vital ‘green lung’ of Plymouth.

To find out more about this campaign click here.

You can sign here.

See also here.