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Australian spider poisoned by monarch caterpillar

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  • Peter Bernhardt
    Dear Colleagues: Dr Malcolm Calder was one of my PhD advisors (I had two, long story) at the U. of Melbourne (Victoria, Australia). Some of you may recall our
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 18, 2011
    Dear Colleagues:

    Dr Malcolm Calder was one of my PhD advisors (I had two, long story) at the U. of Melbourne (Victoria, Australia).  Some of you may recall our joint papers on bird-pollination in Amyema spp. (box mistletoes). He and his wife retired to small farm and winery near the town of Yara Glenn.

    Peter

    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    From: Malcolm & Jane Calder <acacias@...>
    Date: Fri, Feb 18, 2011 at 1:22 AM
    Subject: Fwd: 2 iPhotos from Steels Creek
    To: Peter Bernhardt <bernhap2@...>


    Hi Peter,
    Here are a couple of further Monarch photos of interest.
    You can see a dead, partially eaten caterpillar and a large, female, orb-web spider, almost touching the carcase.  The spider is also dead!!  We assume that the spider attacked the caterpillar during the night and started feeding on it until the toxin from the Swan plant took over and completed its lethal task.  Clearly invertebrate predators are sensitive to the asclepiad poison.

    Jane and I made this observation and we would be happy for you to share it with your monarch colleague.  I can send larger format photos if you need them.

    Best wishes, and we are sorry that we will miss you and Linda when you are in Melbourne for the IBC.  We are now booked for France from July 1 to August 7.  In September we are heading for a week in the Flinders Ranges with friends from Oregon.  Clearly we are still living life to the full!!

    Best wishes.   Malcolm

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