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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Groundhog Day

Ange of the North, it sounds like your May Ants are like that Groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil – you know, the groundhog that traditionally emerges from his hideyhole in Pennsylvania to do his annual weather forecast of Spring being on its way….maybe the Canadians could have May Ants instead….

I would be totally distracted too if I had all those crawlies zipping around my feet whilst I was a potential sitting target in class! And I would have my feet on my desk!

However, I am reassured that your ants and spiders look a lot more ‘refined’ and ‘genteel’ than the stock Down Under. Actually, the ants and spiders in NZ are similar to the ones in your photos, but it is the ones here in Australia that are sensational in size, colouring, and CHOMP. I have discovered, that everything of that ilk, BITES here. Even the wee black ants that seem so innocuous….I have learnt to keep my feet moving, especially when hanging out the washing on the line. Green ants, red ants, sugar ants, bull ants, wee innocuous black ants, fire ants etc etc etc. They all bite. I think someone should tell them to pick on things their own size!

Black headed sugar ant

This is a sugar ant I think. It was hoofing around in our garden with some bull ants and green ants. I haven’t yet been bitten by a sugar ant, but I still have the scars to show from my green ant bites!

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And this was the spider that caught my eye, not so far away from the sugar ant. I had to go inside to research this one on Google…..only to discover that I’d photographed it’s underside! It’s topside was even more spectacular but unfortunately, none of my photos were adequate. It was also the first time that I have ever been squirted at by a spider! Enough of a warning shot of silk to scare my camera away….This is the female of the species and it was about 10x larger than the male. She guarded the centre of the web, whilst he scurried off to the edges. We named them, “Samson & Delilah”…

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This was Samson. He was wee and nondescript compared to his flashier partner. These spiders are some sort of Ariope. And since we are showcasing our vibrant garden wildlife, here is one more of our resident Golden Orb spider who has spread her enormous intricate web out the front of our house. Like her supplies?! Last night, E came in from the dark outside, pulling silvery strands off himself and muttering something about walking into a spider’s web….then I heard him say with disgust, “UGH! It’s a pantry!!” BLERRKKKKK....


And one might well think it was Spring here too with the noticeable abundance of caterpillars we have observed in our garden. The monarch caterpillar is easily recognisable (well, I think it is a monarch, though there are so many species here I could well be barking up the wrong tree on that one!) :


This caterpillar was VERY hungry indeed and reminded us all of the children’s book – The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Can’t remember who the author was, but they must’ve had some of these in their garden! This particular caterpillar was a very chubby module, and managed to gobble up the entire plant overnight!

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And the boys weren’t keen to share their pool with this one…..it looked distinctly unfriendly! And since we’re in Australia-the-land-of-chompy-wildlife-exotica, it was probably a wise choice!

Whoops. I think you got me on a bit of a roll there with the garden wildlife! I’m looking forward to reading your upcoming post about the ‘really really bad part’ of the Education funding furore. I can’t confess to knowing much about this issue, so it’s great to have the insight of one who’s truly embroiled in it and up with the play! So enlighten us….please.


Kerrie said...

I think with your location you get more that your share of creepy crawlies! I think that is God's good sense of humour!!

Southern Ange said...

Hmmm! I think you might be right at least on the 2nd count!! You'd be proud of me - I didn't even flinch this afternoon when a kid walked through the door with two large, shiny lizardy things in his hand...my boys noted however, that I gave him a wide berth. hehe

Hubby has JUST walked in the door from work. He was ruefully looking at his trouser leg when he came in cos he'd somehow connected with a cane toad in mid jump as he was in mid stride in the dark! We may have to move closer to your end of town for more civilised living!:)

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Ange of the North said...

I'm quite fine with these Canadian ants and spiders who want to come to school and learn to read. However, your insect friends in Oz would not be quite so welcome. UGH! And I know that what distracts my darling cherubs in class is nothing - NOTHING, I say! - compared to your creepy crawlies.
I will continue with my education shockers on the weekend. When I can think clearly!

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