Today the arachnologists (Mark Harvey and Jeremy Wilson) took us to observe trap door spiders which live on the embankment of a riverbed. There were two different species with distinctly different “doors”. The first species from genus Conothele, the Diamond-headed trap door, had thin doors that resembled a leaf over the top of the burrows, these were hard to spot and well camouflaged. The second species from the Family Barychelidae, the brush-footed trapdoor, had very distinctive “plugs” for their doors. Their doors were very circular and thick, like a miniature bath plug, in fact, this species’ burrow and door looks very much like a hobbit hole. I was surprised to learn that many burrowing spiders can live long lives, one was recorded at 43 years old before it died. Burrowing spiders tend not to move from the burrow that they create after they leave the mother burrow, so they are very well constructed. The spider even has “handles” on the inside to hold the door shut, if a predator (such as a centipede) attempts to open it.

At the second site we were looking for jumping spiders that live in the cracks between rocks in the gorges. The particular species we were looking for had become so adapted to hiding between rocks, that it was very flat, and had lost its ability to jump. Therefore, it is a non-jumping jumping spider!