Monday, 7 January 2013

Invertebrates of January

Yesterday (6 January) was very hot again, which led me to hide indoors for most of the day, but didn't seem to deter the invertebrates from being out and about.  I have put a few (OK, sorry, it has turned into a lot of) images of ones which interested me below.

Possibly the most interesting sighting is not accompanied by a photograph.  I took the small dog out for a short walk about 9pm by which time it was quite dark so I was wearing my headlight to spot;
  • (and avoid) any snakes etc which might be wandering about; and
  • other less worrisome wildlife. 
On several occasions I noticed very bright white reflection coming from ground level.  Each time I checked, it turned out to be the eyes of a spider.  With mammals the reflection is usually red - I believe this to be something to do with blood vessels behind the retina - but in this case it was almost strobe intensity white light.

What follows has benefited considerably from advice by Roger Farrow in correcting identifications!  Of course any remaining errors are mine!!

Before getting to photographs of adult insects here is a shot of an insect to come.  This may be a very pale specimen of Heliothis punctigera, the tomato grub.
I like the translucent effect and the hairy head, although I feel sure Hammer Films could have made good use of this!

The first hunting ground was a patch of white daisies around the base of a eucalypt tree in our lawn.
A number of insects were feeding on these inflorescences.  The rather worn butterfly (a skipper, family Hesperidaegets included for the great length of proboscis sticking forward into a disc floret.
A beetle (Phyllotocus sp) gets down to business with rather deeper involvement.  Note the pollen grains stuck to the side of its head.
The next day I got a snap of one after it had extracted its head: the yellow pollen on the scone is most tasteful!


I initially thought these next images are of a March Fly (family Tabanidae).  I then thought it was a Hoverfly (family Syrphidae) due to 
However Roger identified it as Stomorhina sp a member of the family Calliphioridae (Blowflies and Bluebottles).   With this knowledge I find that there is a picture of a member of this genus, with striped eyes in my "Field Guide to Insects in Australia".  Duh!

There is not much web data about this genus and the wiki entry is about a species in North Africa with a useful habit of parasitising locusts.

I then passed by a Helichrysum bracteatum flower on which a bush cricket (Tinzeda albosignatawas performing acrobatics.

My next target was a clump of Bursaria spinosa which often attracts a lot of insects.
On this occasion the cupboard was very sparsely tenanted (there was not one ant, let alone ten ants - sorry, couldn't resist).  All I found were a few Fiddle Beetles (Eupoecila australasiae) but they didn't hang about for images, so here is one from a second visit to the daisies!
The next day - while this post was still being compiled - there were even more insects around on the daisies.

The large moth is a day-flying moth Nyctemera amica.  I have no idea about the smaller one!
Here is a close-up of the antennae (and proboscis).
 A Robber Fly (Colepia malleola)
 One should not overlook the humble honeybee, especially one doing such a fine job of collecting pollen.

 I was delighted to find a Monarch butterfly (aka Wanderer) Danaus plexippus visiting the garden.  Especially when it was kind enough to pose for images of the upperside ....
... and underside of the wings.
 It also snacked on some clover!
Most likely a greenbottle.
 My first Flower Scarab (Polystigma punctata) of the year
As the number of images in this post have probably done damage to your download limits I will now cease compiling the post!

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