Saturday, 11 February 2012

Invertebrates of February

At this stage I am intending that this post will be the main invertebrate-theme page for this month.  Of course where invertebrates occur in specific situations they will be included on the post for that event.

The first is an unusual Ladybird Micraspis frenata.  Rather than spots this one has stripes so is known as the Striped Ladybird.  Since the stripes look a bit like the holes in a violin perhaps it should be called the Fiddle Ladybird?

I believe this next one is a Shield bug Poecilometis sp.  I cannot find a species illustrated that has the swollen tips to the antennae. (I attribute the apparent lack of a couple of legs to misfortune rather than genetics.)
This post now gets into the territory of serendipity or "don't seek and ye shall find".  I have been out many times looking for interesting invertebrates and found nothing notable.  This morning I went out primarily to wield a little death and destruction to thistles and Verbascum and came across some interesting creatures.

The first is a beetle - a scarab Diphucephala sp -on a dew-laden verbascum leaf.  The most interesting element is the red bubble on the head (and a similar lump on the right elytrum).  Roger Farrow has identified the bubble as blood, possibly from an assault by a robber fly or other predator or possibly just a blow to the head.

The next I have described as a "lurid insect".   Brisbane Insects use the vernacular name Metallic Shield Bug for Scutiphora pedicellata.

A couple of days later serendipity kicked in again while picking strawberries.
I believe this to be a Jewel Beetle and it looks similar to  examples of Castiarina sp on Brisbane Insects but doesn't quite fit any of the images there.  My ID as a jewel beetle has been confirmed and a number of possible species listed.  Again none of the quite fit the pattern on this specimen but on reviewing a number of other images of jewel beetles (especially a page from WA Agriculture) they do seem rather variable!.  Also Zborowski and Storey say this genus feeds on eucalypt blossom rather than strawberry leaves.  However we have a whole lot of eucalyptus blossom around the strawberry patch and it may well have got blown off its preferred nosh.

On a foggy morning I found a bunch of leaf beetles on a bush.  It seems there are likely to be a lot more of them in the near future.

We now move to things with long hind legs.  The first is a Bush-cricket - referred to in North America as a Katydid.  I will take a punt on this being  a member of the genus Conocephalus.  The most obvious difference to grasshoppers is the length of the antennae- in this image one goes  from the head of the insect to where the two grass-stems cross in the upper right of the image. According to wikipedia one species within this superfamily has the heaviest testes relative to body weight (14%) of any animal.  That is probably irrelevant to this specimen in which I take the ownership of a long ovipositor to indicate femality.
 The next species is a grasshopper - note short antennae.  From scanning Brisbane insects I believe it to be a 3rd instar of the Giant Green Slantface - Acrida conica

1 comment:

Denis Wilson said...

interesting collection, there, Martin.
I must confess I would have guessed Weevil rather than Scarab, but you say you have sought help already, so lets see what answer you get.
Re the blob on its face, has it been injured, perhaps? Or else, was it a blob of sap from the Verbascum?
I would put the round blob on the wing down to a drop of water.
Re your interesting Katydid, Dave Rentz (ex-CSIRO Entomology) is the "guy who wrote the book on Katydids" - literally.
His blog is:
His email is linked via his profile page.
He is approachable, especially on Katydids.
Worth a try.