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On a recent visit to Travis Wetland we saw many webs of the nursery web spider (Dolomedes minor), which builds a nest to protect its young.

CINJAT nursery web spiders IMG_2520

The spiders typically build these nursery in low growing shrubs, such as this Coprosma bush. The nest below is probably about to be vacated by the spiderlings.

CINJAT nursery web spiders IMG_2524

We did get a (somewhat blurry!) video of the seething mass of spiderlings.

We didn’t see any of the adult spiders, though apparently the females were probably hiding nearby – they guard the nests at night. The nest below is now empty, though there is a spider on the bottom left, perhaps a juvenile?

CINJAT nursery web spiders IMG_2605

There is detailed information about the Dolomedes genus in New Zealand here. There are four species here, with Dolomedes minor being the most common.

For more photos, including of the adult spiders, see here.

We had a short visit recently to one of the waterways that runs through Styx Mill Reserve, in Christchurch. The ~60 ha site has an interesting mix of vegetation types (mainly wetland and riparian areas), and even some locally rare plants. But on this occasion we went to look for arthropods – both in and around the water.

Below are a few of our finds. Our thanks to the folks at NatureWatch for help with the identifications.

The forest shield bug (Oncacontias vittatus):

 

Another immature shield bug, probably a Rhopalimorpha sp.

CINJAT Rhopalimorpha sp IMG_2680

The New Zealand pond-skater (Microvelia macgregori):

 

The larvae of a mosquito/midge (Family Dixidae)

CINJAT Family Dixidae Aquatic larvae IMG_2670

A longjawed orb weaver spider (genus Tetragnatha):

CINJAT longjawed orbweaver

And this is the same spider making itself as thin as possible, presumably for hiding:

CINJAT Swamp orbweb spider Tetragnatha sp IMG_2714

There is a guide to many of the species in the reserve on the Landcare website here and the reserve is part of the Styx Project. There is also a comprehensive booklet about Christchurch Waterways available from Environment Canterbury here.

 

We made several trips to the Botanic Gardens this week, and to the new Visitors Centre.

The visitors centre

The Visitors Centre

Part of a painting in the Visitors Centre

Part of a painting in the Visitors Centre

One of the displays

One of the displays inside

Diorama of a settlers garden

Diorama of a settlers garden

Diorama with vegetable garden

Diorama with vegetable garden

Diorama including a cherry blossom tree

Diorama including a glasshouse and a cherry blossom tree

 

Diorama of a modern style garden

Diorama of a modern style garden

Microscope, which displays on a monitor

Microscope, which displays on a monitor

Examples of art inspired by gardens

Examples of art inspired by gardens

Penguins, advertising the upcoming IceFest

Some penguins near the cafe, advertising the upcoming IceFest

Carnivorous plants in one of the glass houses

Pitcher plants and sundews (carnivorous plants), in one of the glass houses

Glasshouse details

Details of a glasshouse roof

Looking along the glasshouses (apparently blinds come down when it is sunny)

Looking along the glasshouses (blinds come down when it is sunny)

Propagation in one of the glass houses

Propagation underway in one of the glass houses

Maples and Hellebores

Maples and Hellebores near the Archery Lawn

 

 

Daffodils in Hagley Park

Daffodils near the Band Rotunda

CINJAT BG Cunningham House 2 IMG_0521

The Cunningham House is open again – 1st opened in 1923 but had been closed awhile after the quakes.

Looking down the length of the Cunningham House, from upstairs

Looking down the length of the Cunningham House, from upstairs

Bromeliads

Bromeliads (upstairs in the Cunningham House)

Looking down the length of the Alpine House

Inside Foweraker House, which has alpine plants

Plants flowering in the alpine house

Inside Foweraker House

In the Alpine Glasshouse

Inside Foweraker House

In the Alpine Glasshouse

Inside Foweraker House

The Fernery

The Fernery

Inside the Fernery

Inside the Fernery

A wooden moa, in the fernery

We found three moa’s lurking in the fern house.