Nature Begins at Home

We are staying with Francine’s first cousin once removed. Ya just gotta love this genealogy stuff. These are the lovely people who used to live in Singapore and played host to us in 2013 when we visited there with a side trip to Cambodia. They now live on a 1-acre lot in a suburb of Brisbane, Queensland.

Our rental car, incidentally, is a Renault Koleos. Whilst I was very grateful to have a satnav – given Brisbane roads life would’ve been much more uncertain without it – this cracked me up. Francine and I have been seeing Renault Koleos cars in France for several years and they sounded, to us, like a digestive tract problem. “Oh doctor, I’ve got a severe attack of koleos.” So, we refer to them as Renault Intestinal Complaints. At last I’ve got one, temporarily. It’s OK but rolls a bit round corners. It is yet to make me belch.

We beat the bounds of our hosts plot to see what we could find, largely to get some fresh air after being trapped in flying cigar tubes and terminal lounges for 30 hours. We were not disappointed.

Our hosts have five hens that live in an overnight hen house wittily labelled “Chicken Run”. The Chicken Run was playing host to a couple of interesting spiders.

St Andrew's Cross Spider-247874One spider was large and the abdominal pattern reminded me of our own Wasp Spider (Argiope bruennichi). Sure enough, a search showed this Ozzie cousin to be a St Andrew’s Cross Spider (Argiope keyserlingi). The zigzag weaving on the web, BTW, typical of Argiope species, is called a stabilimentum. The function of this is open to debate but one theory is that it helps stabilize their large web.

Uid Ozzie Spider-247875Close by was a much smaller spider, as yet unidentified by me. It looks as though it’s been taking lessons from it’s larger relative in that it, too, is holding its legs out in a St. Andrew’s Cross arrangement of pairs. I must seek help.

Harlequin Stinkbug-247828Continuing our way around the bounds, my eyes were suddenly drawn to the most colourfully marked Shield bug that I’ve ever seen. This character shone a brilliant metallic blue colour punctuated with bright red markings. It was utterly captivating. I can’t stand the American term for Shield bug, which is Stinkbug, but sadly that’s what the Aussies use. This is a Harlequin Stinkbug (Tectocoris diophthalmus). Well, a splendid creature deserves a splendid name (so let’s avoid the Stinkbug bit).

Posted in 2024-01 Australia