Aside from the rain

We got to share New Years Eve with Adam, Kerri, Kyle, Daniel, Tim and our little family. Ronnie and kids turned up later. It was a good night, relaxed and not “messy”.

It is the 2nd year in a row we have shared NYE with Adam and Kerri and Daniel. Last year in Adelaide, this year, on top of the hill, in Brisbane!

Adam’s backyard is a veritable Australia Zoo without leaving the yard! Cane Toads, legless lizards, geckos, FLIES, green ants (Georgia managed to get bitten by one), frogs, St Andrews Cross spider (I think that is the name… really weird. it makes a web in an X pattern and creepy..), bearded dragon that Shannon managed to run over (by accident).

Here is some information about the St Andrews Cross Spider that we found on the lounge room window while visiting. You could see the body pulsing!! Yikes!

orb weaver

One of the most distinctive orbs, the striped St Andrews Cross spider (Argiope keyserlingi) weaves a cross-shaped silk design of zigzag bands in the middle of her web. During the day, she settles herself over the top of this web decoration, legs arranged in pairs as if she had only four instead of eight legs.

Spider experts have been arguing about the purpose of the cross for a century. One theory suggests it stabilises the web, another says the cross conceals the spider from predators, or even acts as a warning to birds not to fly into the web. Studies have shown that webs where the cross has been removed catch less insects – so it must play some role. But new research suggests the cross confuses insects and makes them more likely to fly into the web.

These thick silky crosses reflect a large amount of UV light, the wavelength of light insects use to guide their movements. Many flowers also reflect UV light, alerting insects to their presence. Marie Herberstein from Macquarie University says insects may perceive the cross as breaks in the foliage – escape routes marked by light which they automatically fly towards – and in doing so, fly straight into the spider’s trap.

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