A rare spider find

Wandering about the block one morning I noticed a small blob on the leaf of a low-growing bush. It turned out to be a tiny, weird spider I'd never seen before. I took a few photos and managed to disturb him just enough that he unpacked his legs and revealed a more typical spider shape. 

a male Arkys curtulus ('Bird-dropping Arkys')

After searching our usual resources to try and identify him, with no success, I decided to email Robert Whyte. Robert is a spider expert and has been developing 'A Field Guide to Australian Spiders' (since published by CSIRO). 

I was thrilled when Robert replied immediately and enthusiastically. It seems I'd made a rather rare discovery - a male Arkys curtulus. They are highly cryptic and not many photographs of the males of this species exist. Neat!! 

 An ambush hunter, as are all members of the Arkyidae family

An ambush hunter, as are all members of the Arkyidae family

 The pattern of coloured spots (the 'bird-poo' markings!) apparently varies greatly between individuals.

The pattern of coloured spots (the 'bird-poo' markings!) apparently varies greatly between individuals.

 Long spines are typical of this spider family

Long spines are typical of this spider family

 Swollen pedipalps - give away that this is a male!

Swollen pedipalps - give away that this is a male!

Feeling rather pleased with my observation skills, I very happily consented to the inclusion of my photos in the Field Guide. The book was launched in June 2017 - and this little Arkys features on page 118. An important inclusion to our library, of course!