Steve Irwin's son Robert has been recognised at a prestigious international photography award night for this photo of a spider eating a frog


Robert Irwin, son of the late Steve Irwin, was recognised at the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition at the Natural History Museum in London last week.

He was highly commended for his unusual photo of a large huntsman spider eating a desert tree frog while hanging from its silk.

The photo was taken by Irwin in a remote swamp on Cape York Peninsula off the very northern tip of Queensland.

“Approaching slowly so as not to scare the spider and make her drop her catch, [Robert] watched as she tried to manipulate the frog with her front legs and pedipalp appendages,” the entry to the competition read.

“Huntsman spiders stalk or ambush their prey at night, usually invertebrates, rather than catch them in webs, and while it is rare for one to take a large frog, they will attempt to catch lizards and even small mammals.

“The likelihood is that the Holconia [huntsman] spider had been knocked off balance by the frog’s struggling and had saved herself from crashing to the forest floor by the silk anchor line she had already set.

“Whether the spider managed to get to a solid feeding perch, fell to the ground or sucked the nutrients out of the frog while suspended, Robert can only wonder, as he eventually had to leave her to it,” it said.

Irwin said that he was “thrilled that my photo will be part of a gallery going worldwide to hopefully inspire other young people to take up photography and appreciate the natural world,” on his Instagram account.

The other 100 winning and highly commended nature photos will tour 60 museums on six continent as part of the 2018 Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition.

The awards have been held since 1990.

Irwin was one of only five Australians to be invited to the awards.

Here’s the highly commended photo:

Robert Irwin

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