Friday, 13 December 2013

Some December invertebrates

This post will be used as my collecting point (so much nicer than "dumping ground") for photos of invertebrates not covered as part of other narratives.    Some of the images will be rather woeful because they involve fast moving beasties taken in a spirit of of 'carpe secundum'.  Hopefully they will illustrate some interesting things.

This shows a caterpillar of which we have a good  large number munching on Frances' fuschias.
 Checking with Don Herbison-Evans site gives a match to Day-Flying Moths AGARISTINAE as a big red rump is evident in another image.
That larva was not well, and soon became rather less well.  Following the link above gives an ID as  Phalaenoides glycinae, the Grapevine Moth, of which I have seen several around the place from time to time.  The page for that species lists fuschias, as well as grape vines, as a food plant.

The next mini-beast is a weevil Rhynotia semipunctata which perched on some paper in my study.  The Belidae of which this is a member feed on plants so what it was doing in my study is a mystery.
I did warn you that some of the images are going to be naff!

Other weevils were busy on a grass seed head.
There was no doubt what the next specimen was doing.  It was running like hell to get away from my activities around some future firewood.
It is Platyzosteria kellyi a bush cockroach.  The interesting gold-like speckles are in fact sawdust not colouring of the insect.

While walking up Whiskers Creek Rd a grasshopper (note short antennae proving it isn't a cricket) landed on the side of the road.  It looks rather like  Phaulacridium vittatum
Meanwhile, back at the Ranch, another, rather small grasshopper was sitting on a strawberry leaf..
On visiting our closest dam I found the biggest collection of Water Striders.  I obtained a couple of interesting images.  These are members of the family Gerridae but I haven't been able to go further than that:  while CSIRO (ANIC) have a good identification guide checking most of the features would seem to require that the specimen is:
  • much closer than these were; and
  • very, very still (indeed to the point that them being very very ill, would seem helpful).

Counting the legs (but ignoring the reflections) gives an answer of 12, and thus the beast with two heads is happening there.

The next image is a twofer, with a flower beetle in the foreground and a fly (family Diptera) seed bug (family Lygaeidae - thanks Steve Holliday). I have seen the beetle in the past and have got it to being a soft-winged Flower Beetle (family Melyridae) but at that point the crystal ball backs up.  I don't this it is the most commonly illustrated species in that family because the structure of the antennae doesn't fit.
On sending a second image (this time on a strawberry flower) .. my entomologist friend Roger Farrow he identified it as Dicranolaius villosus.

This is definitely a Pintail Beetle (family Mordellidae).  It looks rather like Hoshihananomia sp. but didn't panic while I took the image, which is unlike their reported typical behaviour.
The next beastie is still was initially a mystery at the Order level.  I am following up a suggestion that it might be a Caddis Fly (Trichoptera) which seems to be a very complicated order with many families but relatively little studied).  Only when I looked at the image did I realise just how long the antennae are.
Steve Holliday has identified this as a Fairy Moth, (Adelididae) and possibly Nemophora sp.  Having got that big hint I wonder about Nemophora topazias for which the specimen that seems to be the only one photographed was sourced at Captains Flat. I have also got advice from Ted Edwards (an author of "A guide to Australian Moths") confirming that ID and adding that "I cannot give you a species name from a photograph as there are several rather similar species. They have wonderful eyes and antennae."

On 16 December there were large numbers of Green Scarab beetles Diphucephala colaspidoides feeding on Acacia dealbata in a reveg plot.
They flew like mini-helicopters with the wing-cases (elytra) held up and the wings whirring away underneath.  On landing the wings were sometimes left poking out.
The background is my pinkie: this also gives a scale to the image.

The next image is a scale insect (Icerya purchasi) on the stem of Acacia mearnsii.
In the next image the scale is being 'tended' by some ants (I suspect Camponotus nigriceps the Black-headed Sugar ant).

1 comment:

Denis Wilson said...

Congratulations, Martin, on an interesting and varied post.
Some unusual beasties there.