Despite the cold weather the students found a number of golden orbs, leaf-curl spider, black house spiders (Badumna spp), Araneus species and others.
Museum in a Box Coordinator, Karen Player and I spent an interesting day at Ermington Public School investigating the spiders and insects. On the first really cold day of the year, the students still found abundant numbers of orb-weavers and weavers of lacy and tangly webs. The Web2spider toolkit enabled them to identify the spider species in their little patch of bushland without any collection or entrapment.
No spider was harmed in the making of this science lesson!
Golden orb spiders can still be seen until as late as August or even September, if they are in an area protected from frost. Once they have laid their eggs, (usually in a golden sac off to one side of its web among the bushes) they are more inclined to die off as their life cycle is complete.
Leaf–curl spiders (Phonognatha graeffei) will create a little “purse” from a leaf for its eggs.
This would be a good time for the students at Ermington to be on the look-out for spider egg sacs too!