Re: Bird Eating Spider

Subject: Re: Bird Eating Spider
From: "Lynne Kelly" <>
Date: Sun, 16 Mar 2008 11:23:29 +1100 (EST)
Hi Belinda,

> Thanks so much for your advice regarding the Bird Eating Spider, and many
> thanks for helping me with the Identification. She is a true beauty! I
> will most definitely leave her be.

And enjoy her!

> Just one thing, can anyone confirm for me if she's Nephila pilipes or
> Nephila maculata?

The reason I did Nephila sp. is that classification of birds is very
different to spiders. It is not easy to be reliable to species with
spiders just on looks unless they are a really clear cut species (very
few) or you have them under a microscope and stare at their genitals - and
know what to look for.

In the book I have just written on spiders, I compare twitching birds and
spiders for this very point. There are 40,000 described species of spiders
with a rough estimate of 250,00 species on the planet. The vast majority
are yet to be described. A field guide with all Australian spiders in it
is waaaaay off. Australia's are very poorly described. One of the common
ones we have here at home just had her species, genus and family changed
in 2002! There is a list of species at the World Spider Catalogue:

Just remember that the birds are eating thousands of unclassified spiders
every day!

Spiders are an essential part of the bird diet and for providing silk for
their nests. If nothing else, we need them for that.

(P.S. Belinda - thanks for raising my favourite topic!)



Lynne Kelly

author, educator:

EUMY Education:

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