Sunday, 27 April 2008

Rain Moth (Trictena atripalpis)

Family: Hepialidae (Swift and Ghost Moths)

(Click images to enlarge)

Yesterday, we managed to wring 6mm from a passing rainband and last night, I had visits from several Rain Moths. They differed in length from 4.5cm (above) to over 6cm (below)

I think this one may have been injured.

Early this morning, I looked for the casings around the base of some red gums, but was unable to find any. I did, however, find a few holes.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Vanessa itea

Well, it only took eight months, but yesterday, I finally nailed the Yellow Admiral!

Over the last few days, it's been fascinated with my parsley! Parsley is not a known larval food host (as far as I know) so I was quite interested in this behaviour. However, the parsley is close to one host I have, that being Soleirolia soleirolii (Baby's Tears) so it's quite possible V itea is simply sitting off the host.

I will be on 'Admiral Watch' again from noon till around today, which is the time I'm noticing activity from this butterfly. Unfortunately, I am only seeing one at a time - probably the same one!

Tomorrow, I will be concentrating on the Lesser Wanderer (Danaus chrysippus) one of which, has been doing low-flying laps of my house block for several days at around 3pm!

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Katy At Night

This is a nocturnal Katydid. An image I found on the CSIRO website of Conocephalis semivittatus (Blackish Meadow Katydid) is similar to this one, but according to the CSIRO, C. semivittatus is not varified as present in Victoria.

Body length is approximately 2cm with antennae about four times the length of the insect.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Fun With Spiders

I was born an arachnophobe. Yes, I inherited the gene from my mother who would have an attack of the vapours at the mere mention of the word 'spider'!

I had to overcome this reckless desire to assassinate spiders. I set about making myself learn what I could about them. It took some time and it was far from easy.

Once I became seriously interested in studying invertebrates, I also became rather brave with the digital camera - set on macro! Super macro requires the photographer to get up close and personal with the subject! Sparassidae - Huntsmen, became a photo opportunity rather than monsters bent on causing an immediate bout of apoplexy!

Long gone are the days when a full can of a popular brand household pesticide was applied vigourously to a hapless Huntsman who made a fatal error of judgement by venturing inside. Long gone are the gynmstic exercises with the hose of a vacuum cleaner set on maximum suck! Huntsmen are still not entirely welcome in my home, especially the bedroom, but nowadays they are quietly relocated outside via a large jar and a piece of plastic. (Canon provide an excellent plastic sheet as part of the packaging of their photo paper!)

I really enjoy my interaction with spiders now. My camera has been a godsend to all large arachnids!

I must admit, I've developed a fondness for the Garden Orb (Eriophora biapicata.)

Over a few nights recently, I opted for a bit of night photography.

This Garden orb was a little miffed that I rudely interupted web-building for the night's hunt. I really like the camouflage in this shot.

This one was showing off! There was a bit of a breeze and the spider was swinging back and forth, ergo the slight focus malfunction, but I thought it was pretty cute!

I think this is Holconia sp taking advantage of a mobile fly magnet!

Correction: Probably Isopeda leishmanni

Thursday, 17 April 2008


I quite often see solitary bull ants wandering around at night, usually after a bit of rain.

This one was heading up the wall, about to tap on my back door, I suspect! (Or maybe it was just attracted by the light!)

No display of aggression as I moved in close for this photo and least 3cm in length.

They are fearsome, no doubt about it.

Myrmecia pyriformis

Thursday, 10 April 2008


I'm not sure which genus this Salticid belongs to. It may be Opisthoncus.

Around 1cm in length and a smooth abdomen.

The jumping spider I assume to be the male, has a decent pair of fangs, visible in both photos.

There is a white trinangular marking on the head.

(Click images to enlarge)



Let's see if this link works!

Image 20 on the "Unknown" list is very similar, if not the same.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

TIPHIIDAE (Hymenoptera)

In December last year, I was lucky enough to locate 2 female flower wasps within a couple of weeks of each other.

They were both on Poa labillardieri I planted in July, 2007.

As Australia has approximately 750 species of flower wasp, identifying this one proved quite difficult without taking a live specimen - and I don't take prisoners! :-)

I missed the male making an appearance by a few minutes. Hopefully, I will be able to take a photograph when the wasps begin their mating flight this summer.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008


A fascinating sight met me last evening as I set off to feed the cattle.

It was dead still. As I drove through the gate into the paddock, I observed a large number of the advance party of what I think were Camponotus sp. Possibly C. novaehollandiae (Sugar Ant.)

Camponotus (sub family Formicinae) are widespread in Australia.

As I was chucking the hay off, I noticed two small 'tornados' in the sky to the north east. They soon became one column. As luck would have it, I didn't have my camera at the time!

The photo below was taken when I got home. There were a number of columns in swarm coming from the same direction, north easterly.

I found a number of ants had landed on some washing on the clothes line. It was pet bedding so I wasn't too concerned!

What I found really interesting was how quickly the ants (I assume females) shed their wings and dropped to the ground.

The ants were generally an average of 1cm in length. Some were larger and some much smaller.

Apparently, ants on the wing use thermal currents to their advantage as they are not strong fliers, which made me wonder whether these were caught up in the windstorm we had last Wednesday 2/4/08) The winds were from the north east initially. Alternatively, we have had a few very still days and they simply chose the optimum time to take to the air.