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Intelligent web design

Their makers are almost blind. They precisely tune their webs, via which they “see” their “world”, most especially their potential prey, potential mates and potential threats.


My introductory remarks are a crude summary of research undertaken by scientists from universities in England and Spain, as reported by  Science Daily in September 2016.

This post’s first two images were both taken in New Zealand’s North Island on a bright March 2017 morning, below the north side of Mt Taranaki.

Moss, webs in wetland/rainforest below north side of Mt Taranaki. All photos copyright Doug Spencer.


Late one Spring day (21 October 2016) in the Chittering Valley, 80 minutes North-east of Perth, my beloved and I were walking up Blackboy Ridge.

As expected, wildflowers were abundant, but we were amazed to find them in several places covered by very large “sheets” of spiderweb.

I imagine that each must have had many spinners; the photo below shows just part of one’s downhill edge.


Part of large “sheet” of web/s on Blackboy Ridge. All photos copyright Doug Spencer.


A few days ago, just before sunset, we were just minutes away from Perth’s CBD; but a walk in Shenton Park Bushland feels “a million miles away”.

I suspect that the relevant builder and tuner was snug, hiding in the shaggineess of the grass tree (a Xanthorrhoea, once commonly called “Blackboys”) to which his/her web was anchored.


Late afternoon, Shenton Park Bushland. Copyright Doug Spencer.

In March 2016 we were more than 2,500 kilometres north of Perth, but still in Western Australia.

The Kimberley Coast is the tropical world’s most extensive wild/wilderness coast and it has the tropics’ biggest tides.

When the tide was sufficiently high we were able to navigate a tidal creek to access a “secret” waterfall;  beside and below it lurked some very big arachnids. This post’s final three images all feature the same individual.


Beside a waterfall, Kimberley coast. All photos copyright Doug Spencer.


Same individual, closer view. All photos copyright Doug Spencer.


A closer view, extracted from previous photo.

Published in nature and travel New Zealand photographs Western Australia


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