Sunday, 8 May 2016

Organisms In Our Garden - Crab spiders


It was sitting on a beautiful yellow rose, the sun was shining right at it. It was waiting for any type of insect smaller than it to come by.  


What is it?

Thomisidae is the family of crab spiders, there are over 2,200 species of crab spiders, all very attractive. As you may know they are given the name 'crab spiders' because of their ability to move sideways or backwards. Crab spiders do not build webs to catch there prey. They use another method. They will find a nice flower to sit on, most likely there own color, but some species can change their color over a couple of days. So that there prey wont be able to see them. Then they will wait until some insect comes along and grab it, injecting its poison. Some also sit on tree trunks. Like most spiders they have eight eyes. The females are larger then males, like most animals. The crab spider is a diurnal animal which means it is active in the day. Crab spiders are not aggressive, sometimes they will bite if felt threatened, but it normally is non- harmful.

What do they eat?

Crab spiders will eat: caterpillars, butterflies, flies, bees, hover flies and loads more. Basically pretty much any insect! There favorite foods are butterflies, honeybees and flies.

What eats them?

Their main predators are wasps, ants, large spiders, lizards, birds and shrews.

Life cycle

Mating seasons usually take place in summer. Females will guard there eggs until they hatch, three weeks later. She does not eat during this time. Shortly after they hatch, the female will die of exhaustion.  Crab spiders can survive up to two years in the wild, depending on the species and the type of habitat (tropical species live longer)

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Kotschy's gecko

These incredible geckos are native in southeastern Europe and the Middle east. I have only seen this species once. It's Latin name is Cytropodion kotschyi. It is a slender gecko, growing up to 10 cm in length, including it's tale. Females grow slightly larger then males. It is native to: Ukraine, Bulgaria, Serbia, Syria, Macedonia, Greece, Albania, Cyprus, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Israel. These gecko' s will mainly be found on tree trunks, walls, cliffs and stony areas. They are mainly nocturnal, but sometimes seen on a sunny day, especially early in the morning or late in the afternoon. The female lays a very small amount of eggs, usually one or two. They have been known to live nine years in captivity. According to the IUCN read list category they are not a threatened species because of its wide distribution. In Serbia it is known from only a single town, living in old houses. It forages for arthropods during the night. Reproduction starts during spring and can continue until autumn.

                                                How I Found the Gecko

 " Look at this gecko I found."I looked up and saw a boy my age showing me an open box.  I couldn't believe what I saw. A cute little gecko! At that time I didn't know there were any geckos in Bulgaria. So I was pretty shocked to see one. It looked really unhappy, in a tiny dark box. I thought it was very cruel. I snatched the box from him and ran to the bus station. I got home and went straight to a nice hot rocky wall. I let him go. He was sunbathing blissfully with his eyes closed. That was the last time I saw him.