|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|I found this small green and white ambush spider (15mm) eating a purplish beetle that it had caught in its lair. Sorry, I don’t know anything about the spider or the beetle, but I can tell you about the flower (below). The spider has folded over one of the bracts and ‘sown’ it to the flower umbel. It had obviously waited on the underside of the white bract until the beetle settled on the flower, and then ambushed it. Isn’t nature amazing? I have observed this before, but have never been able to capture it on film. The angle wasn’t good and a gentle breeze was blowing the plant around, so this is the best I could do.|
The plant is a Flannel Flower (Actinotus helianthi), an uncommon perennial herb found in sandy soils of eastern New South Wales. It can grow to around 1m high and lives for 2-4 years, depending on weather conditions. The whole plant is covered with a layer of white woolly hairs. During spring (September-December), the large flower heads are produced, which are up to 80mm across. The tiny flowers are only 3-4mm long and do not have petals. They are tightly packed in the knob-shaped umbel. The umbel is surrounded by the large radiating white bracts.
Flannel Flower is a member of the Apiaceae family, which includes more familiar plants such as celery, carrots and parsnips. Australia has about 167 species in this family.
I have concentrated on the “kill” in this shot, cropping the original, applying auto levels and unsharp mask (50,1,2), to try and show as much detail of the spider as I could. I realise it’s not the sharpest image on this site, but its not to bad for an action shot. I have included the whole flower in the workshop posting if you’d like to see the whole flower. Hope you like it.
PDP, Callie, Luc has marked this note useful
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