Archive for June, 2012
Barely a day old, and thousands of Golden Orb-weaving Spiderlings were consumed by the Cane Toad (Bufo marinus), in one nocurnal pig-out. Good news though, scientists believe that they are winning the war against this dreaded pest, which was introduced into Queensland cane fields in 1935 to get rid of cane beetles.
A female cane toad can lay up to 70,000 eggs each year, in two separate layings. The introduction of this pest into Australia was a monumental environmental disaster as the cane toads multiplied and spread around the coast, eating whatever frogs eat and the frogs themselves. Wildlife that ate the newly introduced pests died from the toxin produced by 2 glands at each side of the lower head.
These spiderlings are the babies of our resident Golden Orb-weaving Spider (Nephila pilipes). It is Australia’s largest two-dimensional wheel-web weaving spider, creating a magnificent orb of golden silk that is one of the toughest substances, weight for weight, known to humankind.