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1829m elevation spider hunt


Emma Snowden

Wow, wow wow... what a day!
Every day is a new adventure and today's adventure was no different. We began our day with a briefing by Sabrina. Sabrina is the Biodiversity program coordinator. She works for Earthwatch and helps work out the logistics of where each teacher will go and which scientist they will assist.
My team today was:

Joseph - arachnologist
Jo - a Victorian park ranger
Tony, Petra, and myself - educators

Location: The Pilot 1829m, Pilot Wilderness

It was a great place to look for spiders. Joseph gave us a quick briefing on what he would like us to do and where to go look. There is a section in the video link below of the 360 degree view.
So of course, the first thing I did was - I began by first stopping to take in the incredible vista. Being so high in a remote area of the Pilot Wilderness, there was not another soul in sight other than the five of us, who were dropped by helicopter. We could see mountains in every direction. I could not believe the sheer magnificence of this spot in the Australian Alps.

The next step was to collect as many specimens of jumping spiders as we could. We all learned about the sweeping method for collecting spiders in tall grasses and shrubs. This involved using a long net and moving in a figure of 8. It was quite a successful method for a quick investigation with what was around the grasses.

Once we moved away from the peak of The Pilot, we headed in different directions and worked hard to assist Joseph in finding some jumping spiders. We peeled back the bark on the eucalyptus tree and looked under the leaf litter. What I did learn was that it is good to just sit very still and just wait for them to appear on rocks.

In the end, we successfully caught 25 specimens for Joseph to record. It was a great day and I am so very grateful that I could assist Joseph in his quest.