Little Desert National Park VIC Bush Blitz | Oct 2018

Spider day had finally arrived! I was the lucky last teacher to go out with the Arachnology team consisting of Dr Barbara from Queensland Museum and Joseph from Museums Victoria. We drove back to Morea where I was on Day 3 with the Botany team.

With vials in hand, I was ready to catch any insect with eight legs that came across my path. Well, that’s what I thought. Spiders - especially jumping spiders - are incredibly difficult to catch. Barbara said that spiders are actually attracted to the vibration of the car so we left the two cars in idle and hunted around the car. Sandra (from Earthwatch), Barbara and I were direct searching on the grounds and bushes. Joseph and Kate (our amazing Expedition Leader from Bush Blitz) were beating bushes and trees in hunt for spiders.

Every night we each say a highlight from our day. Maria (from Earthwatch) said a couple nights ago that the three teachers looked like chickens scavenging and pecking for food when they were out hunting spiders. Now that I've been out in the field with the team, I definitely agree. Everything turns into a big hunting game when a spider is spotted. You have to open your vial really quickly and squat down and chase it. Sometimes you lose the little guy underneath a stick or leaf so everyone around has their eyes open ready to see the spider's next move. Spotting a spider is your first challenge. Getting the vial on the spider is the second. But getting the lid on the vial and containing the spider is always the difficult challenge; those jumping spiders are ready to jump straight out.

Today was over 30 degrees and searching near an idling car made it hotter. However, we had success!! I think I was able to catch around 30 spiders. Some of them were similar species, and I probably recaught some spiders that we released. I even managed to collect a couple of peacock spiders from the Maratus genus which is Joseph’s obsession. No new species unfortunately, so I can’t have a spider named after me just yet. But, watch this space!