Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Aussie Bull Ant

Most bushwalking Australians have encountered this ant.
Those who have had previous dealings with it tend keep their distance.

Of the genus Myrmecia, there are over 90 species ( and counting) of this insect.
The sting is painful and is a follow up to being grabbed by legs and those fearsome jaws.
Other than the Water Bug, one of my most cautious macros to date.
More information on bull ants can be found here.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Hidden Munchers

A wet late Spring and Summer has been perfect for the growing of corn.
While not really practical from a home garden point of view, it gives kids insights that are more valuable than the resultant crop itself.
Our 3m x 2m plot came to fruition recently and so we began harvest, only to find someone had started the harvest without us.
Known by many names, due to the variety of crops on which it feeds, Helicoverpa armigera ( family Noctuidae), is considered a pest worldwide.
Pics of the the adult moth can be found here.

The above specimen is considered adult, in its grub stage, being brown in colour, while the specimen below shows its juvenile status by its green colouration.

Despite being considered a pest, the markings of this creature are exquisite.

Im not sure if these millipedes were responsible for this area of consumption, or whether they took advantage of an opening to construct their home. 

Much corn was harvested, with much of it still good.
The amount shared with these insects was negligible and the encounter was quite educational. 

Friday, February 04, 2011

Veranda saga continues - The giant water bug

The list of visitors to my veranda keeps growing.
Last night a water bug was added to the list.
This huge bug, in the truest sense of the word, was around 10cm.
I believe it to be Lethocerus Indicus from the Wikipedia discription.

 A quick look at this guy and you can see it is an insect not to be messed with.
Wikipedia states:
"Their bite is considered one of the most painful that can be inflicted by any insect (the Schmidt Sting Pain Index excludes insects other than Hymenoptera); the longer the bug is allowed to inject its saliva, the worse the resulting bite, and as the saliva liquefies muscle tissue"
These macro shots were unnerving at such close proximity.

It was interesting to see parasites infesting the creature (above).
In some species the female lays eggs of the males back, though I believe this to be of a species that cares for its young, inasmuch as hydrating the eggs until they hatch.

With all the insect action going on at the moment, one wonders what next.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

A burst of hot weather heats it up

A burst of hot, dry weather has seen the veranda getting more use in the early evenings as things cool down, though space is limited as more and more insects vie for a place to meet under the glow of electric lights.

This dragon fly stopped by for a visit,

as did this cicada.

Beetles of all shapes and sizes abound in whirring confusion, with the odd Christmas beetle still in attendance as well.

 The increased action has not escaped the eyes of predators either.
This huntsman keeps an eye on the proceedings.

Green spotted tree frogs have been around for the last few months and don't miss too many opportunities for a meal as they deftly climb the walls. 

Evenings are a busy place on the veranda, with sitting under the lights just not a comfortable option.
The show that is put on each and every twilight makes it an interesting place nonetheless.