Thursday, February 22, 2007

Painted Swift spider

supunna picta 9mm
Originally uploaded by moonflowerdragon.
As I blogged over at moonflowerdragon, Cricket spotted this spider running very fast up the fridge. While he and Fish wanted me to just squash it, I was curious - not knowing what kind it is.

We know now, thanks to my new digital camera, and the entymology department at the Melbourne Museum.

We might have identified it ourselves at the University of Queensland Find-A-Spider Guide, but I was looking at medium-sized spiders, not small ones because I measured it at 9mm rather than 8mm or less. The boys didn't want to look at the photos at all. I must admit I didn't enjoy it either.

From Cassowary to India

Originally uploaded by chatallot.
Today, upon reading of the Tarzali home-edding family's cassowary spotting, I asked the boys whether they knew of the Cassowary. "Yeah" said Cricket, launching into his associations " a flightless bird... lives in the rainforest ... related to the emu". Fish didn't know.

...Wikipedia or Google? ... okay Google's first suggestion is Wikipedia anyway...

From there we learned that the Tarzali Tales would have been referring to the Southern Cassowary. But first we explored what 'ratite' meant ("any of a diverse group of large, flightless birds of Gondwanan origin ... hav[ing] no keel on their sternum and, lacking a strong anchor for their wing muscles, could not fly even were they to develop suitable wings); then checked that Gondwanan did indeed mean that the cassowary is supposed to have descended from beasts particular to the Gondwana supercontinent.

In the process I learned (I think for my first time) that the name of the supercontinent Gondwana is "derived from the Gondwana region of India", "because some of the earliest rock formations of this continent were first investigated in part of the region"