Deadly in disguise…. the spider Amyciaea albolmaculata has a body shape and colour scheme which mimics that of green tree ants (Oecophylla smaragdina) because it normally lives only near these ants and is claimed to feed exclusively on them.
This species is usually found hanging from a strand of silk where green tree ants — an ubiquitous species of Australia’s tropical savannas — are present.
Distinguishing features of this spider include the two black ‘false eyes’ on its abdomen and two pairs of large, black lateral eyes on the spider’s head. Amyciaea tends to hang on a strand of silk by its fourth pair of legs with the first two pairs extended sideways ready to capture any ants that come near it. Amyciaea and the theridiid(?), ‘Corinnomma’, have a very similar appearance, presumably because they are both attempting to mimic the same green tree-ant species. The most useful visible differences between these two spiders are that Amyciaea has large lateral eyes whereas Corinnomma’s eyes are all relatively small and there are only two black false eyes on the abdomen of Amyciaea but ‘Corinnomma’ has four of these.
Species: Amyciaea albomaculata (RM) Family: Thomisidae Body length: female: 7 mm male: 6 mm.
I took these photos at Kabulwarnamyo on the West Arnhem Plateau and found the information about the spider on the web (no pun intended) in the Find a Spider Guide to Spiders of South-East Queensland.

226 years after the English arrived to colonise Australia, 75 per cent of Australia’s species are still unknown to science. This informed estimate has been made by Jo Harding, the manager of Bush Blitz, a program supported by federal and state government agencies and research institutions, which documents plants and animals around Australia, leading to the discovery of hundreds of new species.
Ms Harding’s claim that about 75 per cent of Australia’s biodiversity is unknown is based on a 2009 report published by the federal environment department. It aggregates information from a large number of sources and previous studies to calculate the number of species already discovered and estimate the number of species yet to be discovered both around the world and in Australia.
It determined that Australia had 147,579 “accepted described species”, 26 per cent of its estimated total Australian species.
The Bush Blitz claim and the 2009 report were put under the microscope by the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s Fact Check researchers (http://abc.net.au/news/5649858). They gave it the thumbs up as did Sir David Attenborough who commented: “This report will provide a crucial reference point for all those who are acting to protect our planet for future generations.”
Jo Harding said: “We’ve discovered 700 new species so far, that’s over the last approximately four years, and we’re still counting.”
The 2009 report casts a wide net in defining biodiversity. It covers all types of plants (including algae) and fungi as well as vertebrates (such as mammals, reptiles, fish and birds) and invertebrates (such as insects and octopuses) in both marine and land environments.
PHOTOGRAPH: My photograph shows a spectacular beastie found about 12 years ago at Kabulwarnamyo in western Arnhem Land. I took the photograph to the CSIRO in Darwin for indentification and was told “sorry, no species ID and the genus has the working title of #10!”
However, Northern Territory entomologist Michael Braby advises that four years ago a number of related specimens have finally been sorted down to the species level and the work published by Rentz et al. in the journal Zootaxa 2417:1-39 (2010) with the title “Studies in Australian Tettigoniidae: Australian agraeciine katydids, two new genera from northern Australia (Tettigoniidae; Conocephalinae; Agraeciini)”.
Picking which species that my bug belongs to from the taxonomic description is not easy and Michael’s opinion is “it looks like Armadillagraecia mataranka, but I would need to carefully check it against the paper.”
Michael also comments on the decline of taxonomy as a field of science.
“Taxonomy, especially traditional taxonomy in museums around the world, is in deep trouble. The field become unfashionable about 20-30 years ago, unfortunately before the task of documenting the planets biodiversity had been completed. Paradoxically, this is occurring at a time when it is needed most, when biodiversity is in crisis, and the need to be able to systematically catalogue and identify animals and plants has never been more urgent.”
Not sure if AM has a Bininj Gunwok name. I’ll have to ask ask.

226 years after the English arrived to colonise Australia, 75 per cent of Australia’s species are still unknown to science. This informed estimate has been made by Jo Harding, the manager of Bush Blitz, a program supported by federal and state government agencies and research institutions, which documents plants and animals around Australia, leading to the discovery of hundreds of new species.
Ms Harding’s claim that about 75 per cent of Australia’s biodiversity is unknown is based on a 2009 report published by the federal environment department. It aggregates information from a large number of sources and previous studies to calculate the number of species already discovered and estimate the number of species yet to be discovered both around the world and in Australia.
It determined that Australia had 147,579 “accepted described species”, 26 per cent of its estimated total Australian species.
The Bush Blitz claim and the 2009 report were put under the microscope by the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s Fact Check researchers (http://abc.net.au/news/5649858). They gave it the thumbs up as did Sir David Attenborough who commented: “This report will provide a crucial reference point for all those who are acting to protect our planet for future generations.”
Jo Harding said: “We’ve discovered 700 new species so far, that’s over the last approximately four years, and we’re still counting.”
The 2009 report casts a wide net in defining biodiversity. It covers all types of plants (including algae) and fungi as well as vertebrates (such as mammals, reptiles, fish and birds) and invertebrates (such as insects and octopuses) in both marine and land environments.
PHOTOGRAPH: My photograph shows a spectacular beastie found about 12 years ago at Kabulwarnamyo in western Arnhem Land. I took the photograph to the CSIRO in Darwin for indentification and was told “sorry, no species ID and the genus has the working title of #10!”
However, Northern Territory entomologist Michael Braby advises that four years ago a number of related specimens have finally been sorted down to the species level and the work published by Rentz et al. in the journal Zootaxa 2417:1-39 (2010) with the title “Studies in Australian Tettigoniidae: Australian agraeciine katydids, two new genera from northern Australia (Tettigoniidae; Conocephalinae; Agraeciini)”.
Picking which species that my bug belongs to from the taxonomic description is not easy and Michael’s opinion is “it looks like Armadillagraecia mataranka, but I would need to carefully check it against the paper.”
Michael also comments on the decline of taxonomy as a field of science.
“Taxonomy, especially traditional taxonomy in museums around the world, is in deep trouble. The field become unfashionable about 20-30 years ago, unfortunately before the task of documenting the planets biodiversity had been completed. Paradoxically, this is occurring at a time when it is needed most, when biodiversity is in crisis, and the need to be able to systematically catalogue and identify animals and plants has never been more urgent.”
Not sure if AM has a Bininj Gunwok name. I’ll have to ask ask.