The Grasshopper and the spider
Location: Healesville, Victoria Australia
January 21, 2011 3:55 pm
I had this cute little drama played out the other day and thought you might like to see. I tiny spider annoying a big grasshopper, I dont know what kind. Several times it swiped the spider off and each time the spider crawled back up by its web. Eventually the grasshopper lowered it down and they went their separate ways.
Signature: Linda in Healesville Australia
Your photo is quite amusing, however, we are having a difficult time trying to identify this somewhat distinctive Grasshopper. We cannot find a match on the Brisbane Insect website nor on the LifeUnseen website. The spider, which we believe may be a newly hatched spiderling, is well beyond our ability to identify, however, we do have a theory to explain the activity you witnessed. Newly hatched spiderlings often disperse by ballooning on the wind. They will climb to a high point and release a strand of silk that catches the wind and then carries the spiderling to a distant location, hopefully one that will result in a rich food supply. This will ensure that the young spiderling will not have to compete with siblings to survive. We believe the spiderling in your photo has mistaken the Grasshopper’s antenna for a twig and that is the highest elevation point it is able to reach at the moment the photo was taken. Perhaps one of our readers will be able to assist in the Grasshopper identification.
Update: January 22, 2014
Thank you to Matthew who provided a link to the Bark Mimicking Grasshopper, Coryphistes ruricola, on the Brisbane Insect website.