If you have never been introduced formally to Nephila maculata it can come as a bit of a shock. The female I saw this morning must have been close to the size of a saucer. Wikipedia says the total size of a female can be up to 20cm and the body size alone 3-5cm. Sadly for the male he is about 5-6mm. The females are hard to miss. This was taken on my local patch today:
And just to zoom in a little,
Just to be clear, these are venomous. On the other hand I also read that they are a tasty snack in Papua New Guinea. That may be but I wouldn’t want to sink my teeth into one of these any more than I would want the reverse to happen. Steer clear of large arachnid chelicerae, that’s my recommendation.
I have not consciously noticed the males before but today one plucky little chap was crawling all over the female – literally. I concluded that this is some sort of courtship ritual with the added frisson of excitement thrown in that the PLC is in danger of being eaten if the female gets the wrong idea. Size comparison? Certainly…..
I’m going to post a link to this to HK Wildlife net to see if anybody can provide more background on the species and if necessary correct any factual inaccuracies.
It also seems that the female’s head is covered in web but I did not observe whether that was the male’s work.
Here are a couple of other shots from this morning:
I think this is Atractomorpha sinensis, The Pink-winged grasshopper.
And this falls into my botany hole of ignorance but I liked it anyway.
Finally I was bemused to see two bats flying in broad daylight. At our old house I occasionally saw bats flying by day but here I have only seen them at dusk in the past. I must enquire what they might be.