Australian Euoplos field research. (Pic heavy)

Rhino1

Arachnobaron
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Part 1. Golden Trapdoors.
"Spidering" in australia for a hobbyist or enthusiast can only be described as exciting.
To put it into perspective we have somewhere between 20,000- 15,000 different arachnids with only about 4,000 described, so chances are that most field trips result in finding something brand new.
I have several recent exciting finds and have been keeping meticulous records so that when the time comes to hand over specimens to the museum there is a wealth of data to go with it.

This is a trip made to private property that has been cleared for farmland at least one hundred years ago leaving isolated remnants of rainforest in gullies like little islands.
I drove my 4wd in as far as possible, in the dark I put on my backpack full of equipment and gear and with rifle in hand begin the 3 hour climb to the mountains at the rear of the property to set up camp.
Almost to where I need to be and the early morning view is like this....
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I soon had my eye in and lots of hours were spent finding, recording and documenting burrows, heres some euoplos sp. burrows from the first day, these pics are all split, showing them both opened and closed.
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I worked out that if I propped them open with a small piece of twig and waited sometimes the owner would race out kick the twig out and slam the door shut, everytime I had the camera ready and waiting and each time the little door was rudely shut and they would hold it closed from the inside, its absolutely phenomenal that they can hold the door so tightly that there is no way to re open it without destroying it.
Here's a dead burrow with door intact, showing that certain wasps can and will gain access to prey on these primitive giants, wasp nest visible near the entrance.
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Part 2 to come soon
 
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Rhino1

Arachnobaron
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Part 2.
As I have 3 females from a previous trip here there was no need to collect any specimens, I had borrowed an endoscope but was an awful contraption and was too destructive to use.
All I found was large burrows and nights were spent searching for wandering males, the only small sized burrow found had been collapsed a very long time ago. This is concerning that there are no signs of males or juveniles in the area, these girls spend there entire life in one burrow and if it is destroyed they cannot make another one in the clay soil they prefer, for an ancient species they are extremely fragile and are one of the first things to disappear when the environment isn't "right".
The old door below, has an almost wood like consistency, this is at least a third of the size of any other burrow door I found.
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We have recorded heavy predation by bandicoots in the area and almost every burrow was found on an embankment which is presumed too difficult for them to dig up.

One thing I have noticed all over se Qld is every patch of rainforest has very healthy populations of funnel webs, here's a pic of a funnel web living in a tree but funnily enough it's not actually a tree funnel web.
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Funnel webs are extremely resourceful and will use old trap burrows etc so it was cool to see this guy almost 2 metres off the ground.
Here's one of many tree funnel web (hydronyche formidibalis) webs seen on this trip, the classic cross style web generally has 4 socks which they use to snag prey, they lay flat when not in use, juvenile web below showing the little pieces of camouflage added to the web.
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Part 3 to come.
 

Rhino1

Arachnobaron
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Mature hydronyche formidibalis web below showing lots of pieces of moss etc used to conceal the web this was probably the biggest one of these I've seen around 18cm across DSCN6710.JPG
One of the many spiders recorded on this trip but definitely the prettiest, I believe it to be possibly in the lycosidae wolf Spider family, below.
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Rhino1

Arachnobaron
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Big old snail next to a full size Bic lighter, I'm starting to have trouble loading pics, so will call it a day.
I have left 3 motion sensor cameras set up on various euoplos burrows, which means the next trip out there should be very exciting, the cameras will keep recording for at least 8-12 months, every trip I pick up more and more valuable data, so each and every trip is a success. We found an active burrow with a rare xamiatus rubifrons or red jawed wishbone spider and this was confirmed with the endoscope, by the end I had documented and recorded gps coordinates of 32 golden trapdoor burrows.
Bit by bit I will improve equipment with a decent endoscope attachment first on the list, so I can take better footage inside the burrows, I'm not trying to prove anything by doing all this, it's more of a matter of seizing an opportunity and yeah it's exciting as hell and maybe a little bit addictive lol.
Will try and post more pics when I can.
Thanks for looking.
 
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Hydrophilus

Arachnopeon
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Aug 18, 2015
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Dude - this is amazing. I'm always excited to "meet" other trapdoor enthusiasts but it seems hobbyists that are familiar with looking for them in the field are rather uncommon. Many thanks for sharing photos from your field trip. I eagerly look forward to seeing more!!
 
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