In a makeshift house for dwarf possums, Australian environmentalists have discovered dozens of unexpected arthropod guests.
Hunter spiders may seem like giants to those used to mid-lane spiders, but in Australia, x size is common. Which, however, does not negate the fact that a meeting with such a handsome man can greatly frighten even an adult.
Now imagine what a shock the ecologist Angela Sanders experienced when she opened the house for possums and found in it … a huge ball of dozens of spiders, fiddling with their fleecy paws and scattering in panic in all directions. However, this only made ecologists happy: the abundance of spiders is evidence that the ecosystem, on the restoration of which the team has been working for so long, has finally returned to normal.
The Monjebup Nature Reserve in Western Australia has been the site of a series of land restoration activities. As part of this program, many trees have been planted to provide habitat for the animals. In particular, the western pygmy possum (Cercartetus concinnus) is one of these poison dart frogs.
However, hunting spiders also live in trees. Such a surprise.
The irony of the situation is that the trees are still too young. Opossums live in hollows, therefore, to imitate them, the reserve staff installed special boxes - in them animals should feel in their familiar environment. And hunting spiders live under the bark of old trees and in the cracks of large branches. Since young trees do not yet have a flaking crust layer or twigs, the spiders, apparently, decided that the boxes would be perfect for them too.
Hunter spiders are a rare species of spider that prefer collectivization. This helps them to get food more efficiently (lone spiders serve as food for them, which is typical), and also to take care of the offspring. Studies have shown that due to this circumstance, they grow up much more viable and hardy children than other families of spiders.
So it is not surprising that large and scary spiders have chosen such a cramped corner - it is easier to survive this way, and they realize it. You don't have to worry about the fate of possums either: environmentalists assure that a dozen or even a hundred boxes occupied by spiders will not affect the population of these adorable animals in any way.