Sunday, March 22, 2020

Falkland Islands (1986)

Date of issue: January 3rd, 1986 to May 19th, 1986
Name of issue: Insects and spiders of the Falkland Islands
Number of arachnid related stamps in issue: 3/15

Information from the postal services booklet (please note that the information about the animals may or may not be accurate, I am simply re-typing the information).

It is not clear when the first collection of insects and spiders was made in the Falkland Islands, but the earliest note together with an illustration of a Falkland species of moth appears in the works of Antoine Joseph Pernetty "Histoire d'un voyage aux Isles Malouines, fait en 1763 et 1764". From this period on, collections of Falkland insects have been made but by comparison with many other areas both the insect and other invertebrate fauna has received very little attention and as far as available records show, there have been no detailed ecological studies carried out in the Islands on any of these forms of fauna.

In this series of designs an attempt has been made to show some of the more interesting forms of insects in the different families that are perhaps better known locally. Three example of spiders are illustrated. The fifteen designs also show some of the more common plants of the Islands which in some way are associated with the subjects, although this does not always indicate that the plants used for the various subjects have a dirrect connection with the life cycle of the insect or spider illustrated.

1p Green Spider Araneus cinnabarinus* (Juvenile form). This attractive spider although predominately reddy-brown is a juvenile form of the Green Spider shown in the 6p design. After moulting, this form gains some yellow speckling, gradually taking on the brilliant green of the adult. In this illustration the spider is shown against a background of the fern Blechnum magellanicum. A search through stands of this rather magnificient fern, which is common to many regions of the Falklands, will almost certainly reveal populations of this spider.

*Correct spelling of this species name was Araneus cinaberinus (Nicolet, 1849), there were mistakes on the stamp. This species is now Molinaranea magellanica (Walckenaer, 1847)

Michel #: 390
Scott #: 387
Yvert #: 403
order: Araneae
family: Araneidae
*Molinaranea magellanica (Walckenaer, 1847)
Araneus cinnabarinus (on stamp)

1p Green Spider Araneus cinnabarinus* is probably the largest and most spectacular of those spiders found in the Falklands, and like the reddy-brown juvenile depicted on the 1p stamp can also be found amoungst the fronds of Blechnum magellanicum the species belonging to the genus Araneus are passive predators in that they wait for flies and moths to fly into their webs rather than hunting for prey. Habitats seem to vary considerably and beside spinning their webs in fern, they are also commonly found amongst Boxwood Hebbe elleptica which is shown in the design. Gorse and other cultivated bushes and trees in settelment gardens are also common habitats. depending on the habitat used, the colouration appears to vary a little from the example illustrated with its bright green abdomen and white strip to specimens of a green-brown with cream or buff stripes.

During the month of January (the austral summer) female Green Spiders can be seen spinning cocoons of a golden brown silk and laying eggs. By March a search amongst the habitats will reveal numbers of these cocoons full of eggs, often with the female in attendance. The cocoons propably remain instact until the spring when the young emerge. It is probable that this species had only one generation per year.

*Correct spelling of this species name was Araneus cinaberinus (Nicolet, 1849), there were mistakes on the stamp. This species is now Molinaranea magellanica (Walckenaer, 1847)

Michel #: 395
Scott #: 392
Yvert #: 408
order: Araneae
family: Araneidae
*Molinaranea magellanica (Walckenaer, 1847)
Araneus cinnabarinus (on stamp)

£1 Beauchene Spider Emmonomma beauchenicum. The illustration represents an endemic species of Spider new to the Falkland Islands, which was recently discovered on Beauchene Island, a remote outlayer in the archipelago, hence the specific name beauchenicum. Unlike the Araneus species of spider this form does not appear to require a plant habitat, it being found beneath rock debris in areas where little vegetation exists. The plant depicted is the small succulent Tillaea moschata Stonecrop which commonly grows amoung rocks in coastal areas.

Michel #: 403
Scott #: 400
Yvert #: 416
order: Araneae
family: Amaurobiidae
Emmenomma beauchenicum Usher, 1983

Other stamps of the series:

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