Under the leaves of the double (petal) fuchsia hibiscus is where the butterflies sleep. The withered hibiscus leaves dying and hanging, provide the perfect camouflage for the butterflies. If light does not reflect on their folding wings or their shimmering patterns, you just don’t know – that is where the butterflies sleep after dark.
How did I know this? I was helping my mother late one evening to prune these beautiful hibiscus bushes and I saw the butterflies. There were lots of them under the leaves – hanging upside down like the flying foxes. As soon as light arrived the next morning, I went to check and the butterflies had gone.
I like spiders and I have posted images of Queensland’s tent spiders here before in Gangster in the Garden and Weaving Art into Web.
I know some of my readers love them too (and some of my readers don’t like spiders at all). Here is a large pregnant Dome Tent spider from my garden.
The Dome Tent spider, (Cyrtophora moluccensis) is the largest spanning the width of a man’s hand. The long body is strongly variable in colour with a broad black to rusty-red stripe for most of the back and bright yellow and white spots along the edges.
Tent spiders have modified the circular web into a dome, spiked tent or broad scoop.The Dome Tent spider builds a large dome-shaped web from 30-60cm across with a long tangle of web above the dome and a small tangle below. Funny enough this insect’s ‘home design’ or feature has been copied and commercialised by adventure companies. They build and sell various camping tents that are structured the way the spider builds its web.
The female hunts from the top of the dome where she lays her eggs in a long bean-like and attempts to fend off the large flesh flies (Sarcophagidae) that parasitise them. From about Rockhampton northward, these spiders form massive colonies as big as houses. See more at Queensland Museum. I saw one colony yesterday where I counted seven spiders all combined their architecture to form a web structure approximately two metres wide by three meters tall. I did not have my phone nor my camera with me to capture the image, unfortunately.
Here is another kind that was weaving its ‘tent’ across my front door.
Last month, many butterflies hatched on my lime trees. I have been looking through some of the You Tube videos to see how Butterflies transform – well, I have seen hundreds but they are still very interesting. The ones that grew on my two lime trees are now flying about in the yard which is wonderful to see. In this YouTube video, the complete life-cycle of the Monarch butterfly is shown from a tiny caterpillar hatching from an egg on a Milkweed leaf through metamorphosis to become a glorious adult butterfly. Filmed utilizing high-powered microscopic cameras and time-lapse photography. Produced for the Chicago Nature Museum in Chicago, IL.