Monday, 26 September 2016

Insects start happening

Although Spring doesn't start for another few hours from the time of  starting typing some of the insects around Carwoola are already firing up. (They may have started firing but then went missing for quite some time: this draft has been hanging around for nearly four weeks.  So I thought I would add a sighting from today (26 September) and publish it.)

The first observation was in fact a few days ago when I saw an Australian Painted Lady butterfly taking advantage of a sunny day.  I'd suggest this was a contender for whatever Lepidoptera have as the equivalent of the Darwin Awards as the next night was -4oC.

The second was a tad strange as I had not noticed such an event before.  At about 2100hrs on 30 August Frances became aware of tapping on the windows.  It wasn't Greta Garbo but a bunch (at least 10 specimens) of insects!  I think they were Icheumenon wasps.  What they were doing out at night I have no idea.

Fortunately I asked Roger Farrow about their identity and he was able to advise that they are indeed an icheumenoid, Netelia sp.,  and on consulting his book "Insects of South-Eastern Australia" it indicates that what they were probably doing was migrating
According to Zborowski and Storey the presence of the vein marked with a red arrow indicates they are Icheumenons rather than Braconids.
While on the details of anatomy the presence of an ovipositor suggests these are females.
I finally got the lighting more or less right in terms of the colour of the insects.
(As an aside: it is part of the set of official family jokes, referenced in a blogpost from 2010 that Dudley Moore's window tapper was Raquel Welch.  The You-tube above makes it clear it was in fact Greta-bloody-Garbo.  I think I must have conflated the Pete'n' Dud sketch with Dud and Raquel appearing in Bedazzled.)

When I composed the above (31 August 2016) I expected it to herald a lot of interesting, photographable insect sightings.  This has not turned out to be the case, and it is not until the evening of 13 September that the next lot of tapping ensued.  That was a small moth:
The event that caused me to hit the 'publish' button was finding an Australian Admiral (Vanessa itea) zipping around the garden this morning (26 September) .  It was obviously well up on energy as it was moving very quickly and didn't pause for a photo.

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