Friends of Mount Majura (FoMM) Newsletter December 2015

Welcome to the December 2015 edition of the FoMM newsletter. On behalf of the FoMM management committee I would like to thank you all for your continued interest and participation over the past year and hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and all the best for 2016.
See you on the mountain.
Jo Lynch
FoMM Secretary

FoMM activities and news:

Pre-Christmas Working Party – Sunday 20 December
Gift an hour of your time to Mt Majura at the FoMM Working Party and help remove Privets and other environmental weeds that have escaped from nearby gardens. Residents backing on to the nature reserve are particularly invited to check out and help tackle these garden escapes that stray into the nature reserve. You need no experience to attend this event; instructions and tools will be provided on site.
Where: Meet at the ParkCare notice board close to the Hackett water tank off Rivett/ French Streets intersection.
Bring and Wear: Please BYO sun protection and wear body covering garden clothing and sturdy shoes.
Inquiries: Ph. 6247 7515 or reply to this email

Broad-leaf Privet is an environmental weed invading the nature reserve (W. Pix).

New spider species recorded on Mount Majura!
As a macro photographer, I find the world of invertebrates (animals with no backbone) particularly fascinating. While macro photography is challenging but rewarding, it also allows the photographer to truly grasp the intricate detail and endless variety of these tiny creatures. For me living in Canberra’s inner north, the nature park at Mount Majura is very close and convenient and surprisingly contains a wide range of insects and spiders, and particularly within the spiders, many of the lesser known ones. A group of these lesser known spider species are the Peacock Spiders. While they have been known for several years, it is only in the past few years that the Peacock Spiders have been explored and now for the first time one species, Maratus pavonis has been sighted in the nature park at Mount Majura. Maratus pavonis is one of the more common and most widespread species of the 37 Peacock Spider species that have now been identified in Australia. These spiders are commonly referred to as peacock spiders due to their colorful abdominal flaps that they display during their courtship. Similar to peacock birds, where this spider gets its nickname from, the male performs a very colorful routine to attract the female. It does this by extending these intricately ornamented abdominal flaps, which are waved at females in synchrony with their 3rd pair of legs while intermittently producing substrate-borne vibrations. Maratus is a member of the Jumping Spiders (Salticidae) family. Jumping spiders don’t build a web, but rather are daytime hunters and as such are very active, nimble and highly mobile and can usually be found on the ground or on low bushes. I found Maratus on the ground in long grass, but, if you are looking for them, they are fast!!
By Ian Gordon

The Peacock Spider Maratus pavonis (I. Gordon)

Spiders at Night Walk
Apologies to those who missed out on Ian’s evening spider walk last week due to it being fully booked. We will be talking with Ian about the possibility of holding another spider walk in 2016, so stay tuned.

ParkCare and Landcare Christmas Party – Friday 11 December 4.30pm – 7.30pm
Celebrate another wonderful year for volunteers caring for the environment. Find out what’s been happening at Jerrabomberra Wetlands. Wood fired pizzas, drinks, nibbles and dessert will be provided. Family members welcome. Bring singing voices and instruments to join with the kids in the Little Landcare Band from North Belconnen Landcare Group.
Where:  Jerrabomberra Wetlands offices, Dairy Road, Kingston. Park along Dairy Road.
RSVP to this email and advise of any special dietary requirements.

Other items of interest:

Woodland Flora, a field guide for the Southern Tablelands (NSW & ACT)
This new field guide, by Sarah Sharp, Rainer Rehwinkel, Dave Mallison and David Eddy covers 440 species found in woodlands in the Southern Tablelands. Every page has descriptions and one or more photos to help identify each of the species. This is a companion book to Grassland Flora, a Field Guide for the Southern Tablelands (NSW and ACT). Click here to find out more and how to order a copy.

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