Saturday, 9 February 2013

Invertebrates of February

This series commences with a grasshopper which rattled into our kitchen window at 2130 last evening.
It is Acrida conica (thanks Dave Rentz for the ID of the grasshoppers and other helpful comments). It was quite determined to get through the window, and I don't think it was after the tomato ripening on the ledge inside (especially as this species is a grass eater), but eventually fell off the sill.

On the afternoon of 9 February I found a brown grasshopper (Gastrimargus musicus) somewhat similar  in shape to the above in a Joycea tussock.  The yellow hindwngs were very obvious as it, and many others, flew.  Here are a couple of images.

The brown grasshopper below flew across our drive and promptly hid in some grass.  I incline to it being a locust, Austacris sp.
I then found a horde of Christmas beetles, Anplognathus rugosa

giving some attention to a Eucalyptus viminalis.   As usual with scarabs most of them panicked and fell off before I could photograph them but a few hung around.

It would seem that their population is about to explode, judging by the amount of extreme friendliness being displayed later in the afternoon.
A few other insects were also seen.  I will go way out on a limb and identify this as a small, brown, day-flying moth.
Quoting Dave Rentz: "These are the travelling enclosures of a bagworm moth, family Psychidae. The bag may contain a larva or an adult female moth-or nothing. The females of some of these moths spend their entire life in the “bag” and never venture out. They lay their eggs in there and the caterpillars emerge and eventually build more shelters like the one they came from. Still other abandon the case when they become adult and fly off."
The next two images are both flavours of scale insect.  The first is a female cockroach found on the trunk of a Eucalytus meliodora.  It is wingless which confused me until Dave put me right!
 This is Cushiony Cotton Scale I think in its usual haunt of an Acacia stem.
A few more images were obtained on 11 February.

For some reason every time I take an image of a Pond Skater (family Gerridae) there turns out to be two of them!
Some beetles were similarly engaged, while balanced on a wire fence.
Cut moths had been acting this way, but rather than catching them in flagrante I merely had a larva as evidence.
A couple of small iridescent beetles were imitating helicopters with ADD and eventually one landed for a photo.
To prove that I am not legist here is an attractively marked spider found cowering under a rock.

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