Grey Huntsman egg sac - 25 March 2014

Grey Huntsman egg sac – Photo: A Moore

By: Michael Fox

“What is this white thing that looks like a tea bag” Alan asked, leading me to a dead tree beside the Farm Fire Trail through Fox Gully Bushcare.

The “tea bag” is actually an egg sac of a Grey Huntsman Spider Heteropoda immanis.

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Holconia immanis - Feb10

Grey Huntsman Heteropoda immanis

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A fearsome looking creature these spiders can inflict a painful but not poisonous bite. Generally timid the females will strongly maternal and will protect egg sac. http://www.arachne.org.au

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Common Gum Tree Shield Bug - egg capsules - 24 March 2014

Egg capsules – Photo: A. Moore

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Having found the spider eggs Alan explored the dead tree to see what else is living in this unexpected habitat. Macro photography of empty egg capsules show that the tree is also home to shield bugs, probably the Common Gum Tree Shield Bug.

We tend to assume a dead tree, or stag, is only useful for firewood. Alan’s photos show that this “dead” habitat is still alive with species that depend on it for breeding.

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Poecilometis patruelis - eggs - Jan10

Common Gum Tree Shield Bug

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I have photographed this Common Gum Tree Shield Bug Poecilometis patruelis laying her eggs in 2010.

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Common Gum Tree Shield Bug Egg sacs close - 25 Mar 2014

Perfectly formed egg capsule lids

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Zooming in even closer we can see that these neat capsules also have perfectly formed lids that pop off as the bugs hatch out. Click on photo to expand and look at bottom right capsule.

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Lacewing eggs - A. Moore - 25 March 2014

Lacewing eggs – Photo: A. Moore

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Alan was also fascinated by the hundreds of tiny mushrooms growing on the tree. However, when I received Alan’s macro picture I realised these were Lacewing eggs each one mounted on an individual thin stalk.

 

 

 

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