July 15, 2023

Dawn Road Reserve Bug Hunt

Saturday the 15th July in the morning, I decided to take my mate to the Dawn Road Reserve to hunt for insects and arachnids. I have been here many times previously with people such as my best mate who surprisingly liked it a lot despite not really liking bugs much.

The first few minutes of starting the hunt, we came across a common scorpion to that area, 'Hormurus sp'. We came across many of these throughout the forest under rocks, fallen tree bark, and underneath many logs. Surprisingly, all these scorpions were very happy to get their photos taken by myself and my mate. The Hormurus sp that we found varied in size from tiny infant scorpions to the medium sized adults. Probably the most common thing we found today in this hunt with around nine or ten scorpions found. Some were found seeking refuge under the same rock as a massive colony of Rhytidoponera metallica that had about six ants walking all over two scorpions.

Speaking of ants it's time to move on to the next things that are worth noting about which were many ant colonies with the most common colony of ants being Iridomyrmex bicknelli that almost claimed every rock and log that was flipped over today. Another colony that we found today were the infamous and elegant Polyrhachis ammon that were massive in numbers. I particularly like these Golden Spiny ants because the stunning gold colour on their abdomen. There was a single ant that was worth mentioning because of its venomous stinger and unique ability to jump which is none other than Myrmecia nigrocinta. I've found a colony of these the last time I went here which was a very big colony, ants were everywhere and jumping around like they were activating springs every three seconds, unfortunately we didn't find a colony today, but it was still exciting to find one of these ants. Another colony we found that was previously mentioned was the Rhytidoponera metallica. These ants were in big numbers when overturning rocks with many males and future queens of the colony. There was a particular habitat housing these ants that were turned over that was also home to something that I presume wasn't paying rent there.

That home intruder was a fairly big friendly wolf spider. The rock we overturned always had a wolf spider as every time I flipped that rock over, there was always a wolf spider underneath it. This wolf spider we found today however was very still in order to avoid being caught by the green ants or was posing for its picture to be taken. This wolf spider is the biggest one I've seen here so that was something to celebrate. We found a few other wolf spiders but were nowhere near the size as this one.

Now time to move to the arachnids that are known as an iconic animal of Australia which are Sparassidae. I have found lots of these here during previous hunts but today was one of the most interesting hunts to when it comes with Sparassidae. The first huntsman that was found was a large juvenile Holconia immanis female. Holconia immanis is the favourite huntsman of mine because of the amazing colour,, the sheer size, and the band, hence the name Giant Banded Huntsman. These huntsmen are common at the Dawn Road Reserve, but I have only ever found three here which was a big surprise to me. Then we came across a massive adult male Holcomia immanis, that had to be the biggest huntsman I have seen in the wild. He became very brave and let me take a great picture of him showing his size and lovely band on the abdomen which is one of my reasons it's a favourite huntsman as was previously mentioned. Then shortly after we celebrated that we found a massive huntsman, we saw a big piece of wood that looked like it was a home to something. So, we did the obvious and turned it over and I saw a glimpse of my second favourite huntsman, Heteropoda jugulans. This one was very shy and would run underneath the wood everytime we overturned it. So, there we were spending a few minutes trying to figure out how to get this spider to calm down. Eventually we got the spider to stay still and took a nice picture of it before letting it go back to its home to stay warm and safe from all the scary humans.

Finally, to conclude this little journal report, we found a surprise which was Triboniophorus graeffei, a slug that has a distinctive red triangle on the top of it and a red outline of its body which is an obvious reason on why it was given the common name 'Red Triangle Slug'. Now I have never seen this slug in the wild ever so finding this slug may've made me to question myself shortly after finding it. "I got excited about finding a slug....". Never thought I would say that.

Overall, this has been one of my favourite hunts that I have been to the Dawn Road Reserve. This place is such a diverse little place containing everything from huntsmen, scorpions, jack jumper ants, bearded dragons, and the occasional kangaroo family that sometimes ventures through the place. It is a big surprise to find all these creatures here yet being slow close to human civilisation. Going deep through the forest sometimes makes me think that I am far away from any shopping centres or houses but once you walk out of the entrance, there's a cafe just outside and a shopping centre fairly close by. I am surely going to be back here next time and try and find a snake this time.

Posted on July 15, 2023 06:48 AM by tabugguy tabugguy | 4 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment