If red means Beware, does green mean, No worries?

Is it ignorance or some intuition about appearance that makes us react in different ways to different creatures?

The red and black spider below is a male Missulena occatoria, or Red headed Mouse Spider. In her book, Spiders of Bendigo, Jennifer Shield notes, ‘The males wander in search of females in September and April May, and can be seen in daylight…Recently it has been found that the venom of these spiders has a neurotoxin similar to that of the Sydney Funnelweb Spider which causes violent muscle twitching.’ Maybe that explains why none of those who saw this specimen wandering the bush above Golden Point reservoir were keen to make a close acquaintance.

Mouse spider at Golden Point, July 2011. Photo: Sam Prest


On the other hand, when the green creature below dropped onto the hand of a FOBIF member in the Columbine Creek valley, there was no such instinctive reaction. We’re not sure of the species, and would welcome a suggestion.

It looks harmless--but what is it? Photo: Bernard Slattery

Footnote: members interested in local orb spiders should have a look at Castlemaine resident Lynne Kelly’s Spider blog at spiderblogger.blogspot.com

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