Saturday, 30 March 2013

On a saltire

Named after the white cross that is constructed in the web the St Andrew's Cross Spider seemed an appropriate symbol to find today. This one has constructed its web between the fronds of a Cycas in the garden just outside the office and I noticed it as I looked out this morning. Saint Andrew reportedly was crucified on this shaped cross and the design has been adopted a symbol for many nations in their flags and from Australia's point of view notably Scotland and incorporated in the Union Jack which is also part of the Australian Flag.
But the St Andrew's Cross Spider Argiope keyserlingi is likely to have a practical reason for the design, such as making it appear much larger as a deterrent to predators.

  The female as well as making a beautiful web, is also one of our most colourful spiders with striking patterns. The other distinctive feature as shown in the photo, is appearing to have four legs as two legs each follow the line of the cross. Found in coastal regions from north Queensland to southern New South Wales.

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