Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Action on the study window

The weather forecast for the evening of the 27th promised rain.  You may remember it - wet stuff that fell from the sky back in the day.  About 20:00 the radar looked promising:
 By 2030 this had amounted to a massive 0.2mm!  There seemed to be steady rain later in the evening with 3mm to midnight and then another 6.4mm by 5am.  Well done that cloud.

However as is often the case this attracted wildlife to my study window.  What first caught my attention was a Peron's tree frog sticking on to the glass at the bottom of the pane.
This led me to look at the insects also there.  As well as the many small moths there was an array of other families.  I have tried to ID them using Insects of South Eastern Australia  and A Field Guide to Insects in Australia I can't work out the first one at all.

Fortunately Roger Farrow, author of the first book linked above has been able to do so - and both are in his book, as referenced below.  He advised that "the ‘fly’ is an ichneumonid wasp, Netelia sp see page 217 parasitoids.  These commonly fly at night and migrate with their noctuid moth hosts."

 From the 'ornaments' on the legs I suspect this is a Spider Wasp.  No.  It is "a plume moth Pterophoridae see page 166."   In my own defense I'd say this is the strangest looking moth I have ever seen!
 I then moved indoors and got some more photos of the frog.
It moved up to the top of the window and entertained us as it moved around picking off the small moths.  The silhouette is how the photo turned out taking the image with flash: despite the lack of detail it shows the predator-prey relationship..
 This shows the considerable length of the leg when it is stretching out.
Over the following hour the frog captured (and ate) at least 20 small moths.  It was still on the window when I turned out the light.

Thus far the Frogmouths have not inserted themselves into this process.  They usually turn up when the larger, juicier Swift moths are around.

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