Monday, 26 December 2011

Third arthropod post this month!

I read a tip from Google analytics that too much stuff in a page makes them slow to load, which annoys the punters.  My second arthropod post for this month was starting to get a bit big so I have added this third one.  When I have worked out exactly how to do it, I will put up a consolidating post as an index to all the mini-beasts I have been able to identify!  In the meantime here are some more which I find interesting, or attractive, in shape.
The first two are yet more images of the Vine Moth - after endless pursuit last year they are turning up everywhere this year.  This one was perpetrating some form of mischief on a strawberry leaf.

 Next we have some ants (life is too short to ID small ants) climbing over some other insects, which on the 'usual suspects rule' I will say are a juvenile form of aphid.  In fact they are Mealybugs (closely related to aphids) in the family Margarodidae, probably Monophlebulus sp.  Two variations on that theme are in this image: a light brown xample in the centre and a darker form below it.
A couple of days later the aphid being tended was green.

Dave Rentz has identified the following as a first instar nymph of a Torbia species  These early stages mimic ants possibly to dissuade lizards and birds from eating them.  It is identifiable as a Katydid  rather than a grasshopper since the antennae are so long.
 Here we have a millipede.  I originally called it a centipede on the basis of it having one pair of legs per segment.  See the second comment from Denis below to see the detail of why that was not the best call I have ever made! The 'orrible wrinkly background is my hand!
I am unsure of the reason for it, but we seem to have more insects around than ever before.  Possibly the relatively cool, humid weather has encouraged them to breed or perhaps I am spending more time in the garden looking for them.  Anyway here are a bunch more images.

The first two are Lepidoptera:

Next a shield bug Nezara viridula ( a bunch of these have appeared on our potatoes, so may have low life expectancy)
A cucurbit plant was being visited by a bunch of 28 spotted ladybirds and these happy little insects (Blister beetles, Zonitis sp).  Judging by the munched edges to the leaves they may have a similar life expectancy to the shield bugs!
I have posted in the past with images of leaf beetles (Paropsis sp). The following image is included because of the angle captured showing the some of the undercariage of the animal.
A hoverfly on a white daisy (introduced, so no Latin)
A rather delicate member of the family Diptera .....
... and a less delicate, but very colourful,  member of that family.

This rather large (compared to most of the tiny ones around)grasshopper seems to be a Gumleaf Grasshopper - Goniaea vocans.
The next two images are Ecnolagria grandis - the Brown Darkling Beetle.  The second image is included as a victims eye view of the beast.

I will finish with a couple of non-legist images. First a small spider found on a white daisy
and conclude with a scorpion detected under some leaf litter as we were constructing a new path.


Denis Wilson said...

Hi Martin
Very interesting post.
I will email you Dave Rentz contact. He literally "wrote the book" on Katydids. If anyone knows your nymph, it will be him.
Ex-CSIRO, Canberra, but collected a lot on the South Coast, so he is very likely to know that area too.
Now living in north Qld (insect headquarters).
I think your "centipede" is a millipede, as from what I see, the legs are in "pairs" (on each side), i.e., sets of 4 legs.

Flabmeister said...

Thanks as always Denis. I will contact Dave, assuming he isn't cut off by a cyclone or such like!

The centipede/millipede question is difficult: I see it as some segments only having one keg visible while others have two. To my pathetic vision that suggests that where two are visible I am seeing both legs on the segment and where I am only seeing one the other is hidden. Your approach would suggest that the 'far' pair is always hidden and where only one leg is on this side the other has had a "misfortune".

I leave it as an open question.


Flabmeister said...

Damn. One leg, not one keg. A Bacchanalian, if not Freudian, slip.

Denis Wilson said...

I see it more simply, than just the leg count.
Body outer shell (top) is rounded, Centipedes are nearly flattened, with legs going out sideways, whereas Millipede legs hold them up off the ground.
Also, they do lose legs, and also, there are exceptions - some front segments have no legs, others have one, not two, for reasons to do with mating procedures, etc.
Nothing is ever simple with the natural world (as you would realise).
They also add segments (and hence extra legs) as they mature.
I am certainly not an expert, but I have done some work with a Millipede expert, from Tasmania, in our local forests.

Flabmeister said...

Many thanks for the extra information, which I hope will also assist other readers! Corrections will be administered.

Kimberi Pullen said...

The orange and black beetles eating your cucurbits are one of the 'usual suspects', the Pumpkin Beetle, Aulacophora hilaris. The ants are attending juvenile Gumtree Hoppers, probably either Eurymela sp. or Eurymeloides sp., of the family Cicadellidae.