Saturday, 20 December 2014

Invertebrates appear

Following a period of warm weather, and with some favourite food plants flowering, insects are beginning to appear.

Of course having mentioned food plants my first example is from an Order - Mantodea - which feed on other insects!  In this first image the prey is clearly visible (and the prey was feeding on a plant).
 I have included this extra image because if has a less busy background and looking at the full size version I could see a row of spines along the outside of the fore tibia.  This gets it to the Family Mantidae.  The commonest mantis is Orthodera ministralis which this resembles, but i cannot see the diagnostic blue spot on the foreleg: I suspect it is a nymph.
This is a beetle.  Having the head and thorax not visible doesn't help with identification furrther than that!
 The first Fiddle beetles (Eupoecila australasiae) appeared on the daisies.
 The presence of a rostrum puts this as a weevil.  I had thought the lumps on the elytra would make it easy to identify but not so.  Having straight antennae seems to rule it out of the true weevil family!  It was feeding on a Red-hot poker.
 This one was easy: a Botany Bay Weevil, Chrysolopus spectabilis.  It was feeding in a grass tussock out in a paddock.
A fly!  Mainly included as the proboscis is clearly visible.
An ant: one of many slurping the nectar from the Red-hot pokers.
A few days later some different beasties were found.  Ants were common tending the lerp on some eucalypt.
The first flower chafer (Polystigma punctata) has turned up on the daisies.  Obviously closely related to the Fiddle Beetles.
 This comes under the general heading of "what the heck ....?"  My suspicion - from Googling "nymph spiny black yellow"  - is that it is some form of ladybird nymph.  (Quite how a lot of the images that I looked at were linked to that search term is a matter for wonderment.)
With that prospect as a hint I consulted Brisbane insects and came up with a pretty fair match.  Pursuing the matter it seems that the Common Spotted Ladybird Harmonia conformis is the solution.  Note that the yellow on the head and thorax is almost certainly daisy pollen.

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