Sunday, October 05, 2008

What happened?

I'm going to put this out as a reader challenge while I do some research myself. I came across this somewhat disturbing spectacle in a local bit of bushland. The spider (which was on a vertical trunk as it happens) appears to be a huntsman which has been/is being consumed by some sort of parasitic fungus. It certainly makes me shudder. Apologies for the photo quality, I only had my happy snap camera with me at the time.


Mosura said...

That's fascinating!

I guess there are two possibilities. One that it was killed by the fungus in a similar way to fungal to fungal attacks on caterpillars.

.....or perhaps the spider died first.

Have a look at my photo
here where a jumping spider has caught a huntsman.

.....and then look at this one here where a spider seems to have fed on the insides of the huntsman abdomen only.

So perhaps this is what has happened and the fungal attack is secondary.

Anonymous said...

very clever.

David Nelson said...

Very interesting Mosura! The second option is the one I'm leaning toward at the moment.

Denis Wilson said...

Some fungal expert ought have a look at your photo. Lovely purplish colour on the body. I think Mosura has given you the right pointer - probably sucked dry by another spider, then the carcase taken over by the fungus.

Mindy said...

Very instersting shot and senerio.

Eris O'Brien said...

Could be Metarhizium spp. Which is a generalist invertebrate infecting fungi. The government is buying huge quantities of this biocide and spraying it across thousands of hectares of national park and reserve at the moment to kill native invertebrates.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Eris
There is something weird with the time stamps on that Blog.
The original post was posted in 2008.
That precedes the recent attack on Locusts. But I am still sympathetic to your cause - just it cannot be linked to this case.
Denis Wilson