Spi­der a good hider

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - PAUL MIL­TON BUT­LER

A NEW spi­der species may have been dis­cov­ered in the Dain­tree rain­for­est.

On a re­cent field trip the green, translu­cent spi­der was pho­tographed by owner of Cooper Creek Wilder­ness Tours Neil Hewett.

Mr Hewett said he had never seen a spi­der like it in all the 24 years he has been in the rain­for­est and it is the first time, as far as he can de­ter­mine, it has been pho­tographed along with its spi­der­lings.

“Even see­ing this amaz­ing spi­der with its newly hatched brood is an achieve­ment, but its iden­ti­fi­ca­tion is yet an­other chal­lenge for Cooper Creek Wilder­ness and the Dain­tree rain­for­est,” Mr Hewett said.

Mr Hewett said he saw shad­ing on a leaf of the small-leaved fire vine, al­most like a sil­hou­ette. He then dis­cov­ered the green cam­ou­flaged fe­male spi­der and young blend­ing in beau­ti­fully with its green sur­rounds.

“We don’t like to be nui­sances to any of the an­i­mals here, so we try to iden­tify as much as we can from re­li­able sources and an ex­cel­lent web­site, www.find­aspi­der.org.au has images of many spi­ders found in south­east Queens­land and has helped us a great deal in the past,” Mr Hewett said.

“This el­e­gant spec­i­men was not there, so our next step was to ap­peal to the au­thor of this site, arach­nid ex­pert Ron Atkinson, who has helped us to iden­tify many species dur­ing the years.”

Mr Atkinson was equally baf­fled by the sight­ing.

“This is not a spi­der I recog­nise,” Mr Atkinson said.

“Its leg ar­range­ment is sug­ges­tive of a hunts­man (Fam­ily Sparas­si­dae) and some of the Aus­tralian Neosparas­sus species are green. How­ever, the eye pat­tern does not look like that of a typ­i­cal hunts­man and I have never pre­vi­ously seen a sparas­sid (sin­gle spec­i­men) with what looks like a sharply nar­rowed end to its ab­domen.

“This spec­i­men il­lus­trates the fact that there are so many North Queens­land spi­der species still wait­ing to be dis­cov­ered and named.”

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