Category Archives: Arthropods

Lesser brown scorpion

In my seven plus years of living in Hawaii, I’d never encountered a scorpion. Then I saw my first, squashed, in a box I was emptying. Earlier this week I saw my second. It wasn’t dead, but it wasn’t well. I think it had been stepped on, which is why its large, claw-like pedipalps aren’t so prominent in this photo.

This is a lesser brown scorpion (Isometrus maculatus), the only scorpion species in Hawaii. It’s not as dangerous as some scorpions, with a sting similar to bees. It’s also not common, in part because it’s nocturnal and also small. This one was less than two inches long.

Favorite photos from the early days

My first decent pueo photo taken on Old Saddle Road. I noticed it on the post as I drove by, then stopped, got out, and started taking photos. The bird watched me with that intent stare that they have. (Original post here.)

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Oldie-but-Goodie or Favorite Photo.’ (See more responses here.)
This seemed like a good opportunity to run a few of my favorite photos from the first year of this blog.

Hawaiian monk seals are solitary creatures, but these two spent some weeks in each others company. On the left is the female and on the right is IO5, the male I see most often up here in Kohala. (Original post here.)
A rusty millipede casts a giant shadow.
I saw this rusty millipede crossing a dirt road in the late afternoon and liked its giant shadow. This photo ran on the BBC website here. (Original post here.)
A new born calf is cleaned by his mother.
A cow cleaning her very new calf. Another photo that ran on the BBC website here. (Original post here.)
A pair of zebra doves perch on a mock orange branch
A couple of zebra doves enjoying the late afternoon sun together. (Original post here.)
Breakfast strikes back
A personal favorite, this green anole snagged a Chinese rose beetle, but the beetle did not give up. Instead, it got itself onto the anole’s nose before escaping. The anole did not look thrilled at having this incident photographed. (Original post here.)
Finally, a photo from a hike along the coast. Colorful tide pools, blue ocean, white sand – I spent a long time traversing this stretch. (Original post here.)

Black saddlebags skimmer dragonfly

I’d noticed this dragonfly returning to the same twig a few times so I positioned myself to take photos if it continued to do so. Luckily it did and I got a few shots before it took off for good.

The black saddlebags dragonfly (Tramea lacerata) gets its name from the distinctive markings on the wings. It’s found in most places in the U.S. and is one of those good bugs because both naiads and adults help control mosquitos by consuming their larvae.

Rusty Millipedes mating

I saw this pair of rusty millipedes mating on a dirt road. The male is on top and can be identified by a gap in his legs at his seventh body segment. The legs have been replaces by gonopods, the male’s sexual organ which he uses to transfer sperm to the female. The sperm comes from gonopores which are located in the third segment of the body, and it must be moved to the gonopods before mating.

Crab spider webs

Crab spider webs

Crab spider webCrab spiders tend to proliferate in the fall and dwindle in the spring. That means winter is prime time for encountering lots of them, usually in the form of blundering into their webs. This is easy to do for two reasons.

One is that the webs can be large. While the circular centers aren’t that big, the anchoring strands often span 10 feet or more, and are hard to spot. The second reason is that crab spiders build connected webs, meaning there are often a dozen or more covering a large area.

Crab spiders will bite, usually after they’ve got caught in someone’s clothing. This is why, when I run into a web or webs, my first response is to locate the spider. If I find it on a remnant of its web, I don’t worry too much. If I don’t see it, then I usually do my flailing crab spider dance, which serves no useful purpose other than to likely irritate the spider if it is on my person.

On the plus side, crab spider webs, like most webs, are quite beautiful when they catch the sunlight.

The next generation of Hawaiian garden spiders

Hawaiian Garden Spider and prey

I posted a few weeks ago here about a large female Hawaiian garden spider which had spun a web in a place I often visit. A week or so later, that spider had disappeared.

Now, in that spot, three new webs have appeared, each occupied by female Hawaiian garden spiders. However, these new occupants are much smaller, about the same size as the average male of the species. I think it’s likely they’re the offspring of the first spider I saw there.

The smallness of the new spiders can be seen in the size of the prey this one had caught – a little ladybird.


Four views of a Hawaiian garden spider

Hawaiian Garden Spider female underside
Hawaiian Garden Spider female top view
Hawaiian Garden Spider sideview
Hawaiian Garden Spider female side view

This rather large female Hawaiian garden spider (Argiope appensa) had spun a web in a place where I was able to gain decent access to it, so I decided to take photos from front and back and both sides.

The top pose is the one I see most often, with the spider perched on the underside of her web. The back view is the most striking, with its jewel-like top side of the abdomen. The two side views show how gently the spider sits on her nest.

A couple of days later, I saw this same spider on her web with the jeweled back catching the sun. I must have got a bit too close because in an instant the spider was on the other side of the web, underside toward me. I’m still not certain how she made such an instantaneous transition, whether it was through a hole in the web or zipping around the edge, but it was faster than my eye could record.