Sunday, 12 December 2010


This is a good time of the year for insect photography in the garden.
The Coral Jewel, Hypochrysops miskini (Waterhouse); family Lycaenidae, is aptly named. This little butterfly has a narrow, disjunct range along the coast from southeast Queensland north to the Cairns region.
A small, silent cricket, Trigonidium bundilla Otte and Alexander, family Gryllidae, a common resident in the understorey..
The Cruiser, Vindula arsinoe (Cramer), family Nymphalidae is a common garden visitor but not easy to photograph. Like the Coral Jewel, this butterfly has a very narrow range occurring in rainforest along coastal Queensland.
Horns of a Elephant Beetle Xylotrupes ulysses australicus, family Scarabaeidae is quite vocal when disturbed. Despite its the size and strength, Pied Butcherbirds will attack the beetles and beat them into submission before consuming the softer bits.
Jaws of a prionine woodborer, family Cerambycidae. These mandibles are capable of a painful bite. They are used by the beetle to chew through wood.
This little millipede was seen during the rainy period we had recently.

A Plume Moth, Sphenarches anisodactylus (Walker); family Pterophoridae, a delicate visitor to the light sheet.
A sleeping blowfly, family Calliphoridae.
A handsome Assassin Bug, family Reduviidae. Note the dark underside. This bug feeds on other insects and is not regularly seen in our garden.
It has been so wet that this little fungus grew from the top of a bamboo stake. After a day, it was finished.
A Spider Wasp, family Pompilidae. These wasps are common in and around the house where they hunt for spiders.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Green Themes

It seems that with the abundant rainfall, there are more green creatures around than usual. There are the usual green geometrids which were covered previously and others noted below.

A Cuckoo Wasp, family Chrysididae. These wasps are parasites of a variety of insects. This one parasitises other wasps. The small dots are actually minute pits.
The white-lipped Treefrog is often abroad on wet nights. It has been a good year for frogs.
Predator catches predator. Hygropoda dolomedes has been covered in this blog before. It lives on leaf surfaces as does the micropezid fly. Unfortunately for the fly, it has become entrapped in the spider's web and paid the price.

The Northern Green Grocer, Cyclochila virens Distant, is one of the largest and loudest of the local cicadas. Each night a short, noisy serenade is heard. Early in their season, this commences at 7.45 pm. But each night it's racket starts later and later and at this writing the cacophony begins around 7.05 pm.
The Northern Green Grocer cicada. Most specimens are green. The dots on the head between the yes are ocelli. Australian cicadas have very unusual names.
Owra insignis is a small cicada, measuring only about 15 mm. It regularly is attracted to lights.
The Rare Bladder Cicada, Cytopsaltria immaculata Goding, occurs along the coast in a narrow band from south of Cooktown to near Ingham, Queensland. It is usually found in winter but they come to lights early in the Spring (Sept and Oct.).
Aneipo diva Kirkaldy, is a colourful fulgoroid (family Achilidae) that is often attracted to lights.
This is a fairly large leafhopper that one sees on rare occasions.
Methiola picta grasshoppers are now maturing and can be found in the greenery that borders the rainforest.
A large stick inssect, Malandania pulchra Sjøstedt, has a very restricted known distribution being found only from Kuranda to the Atherton Tablelands in rainforest. This is a last instar nymph. One more moult and it will be adult.

Webber's Caedicia, Caedicia webberi Rentz, Su Ueshima is common in the Kuranda vicinity and is known from coastal rainforests from Locherbie to south of Innisfail, Qld. Its closest relatives seem to be similar-appearing species from the rainforests of New Guinea.

Green katydids are abundant in rainforests. This is Diastella kuranda Rentz, Su, Ueshima is common but only recently was described.
Leucopodoptera eumundii Rentz and Webber, was named after both a fearless aboriginal warrior and a Queensland lager. Sadly, both are now defunct. But it is a nice katydid.

This is another recently described katydid, Acauloplacella queenslandica Rentz, Su, Ueshima. It is one of four species known in the tribe Phyllomimini from Australia. All are tropical and live on leaf surfaces. They are plant feeders and nocturnal.

Every so often a beaut Ghost Moth, Aenetus sp., ?scotti (Scott); family Hepialidae) shows up at the light. Usually they batter themselves silly before alighting. This one was found during the day perching under the house.
Although not keeping to the green theme, it seems appropriate to include this hepialid here as it showed up just a few days ago. Once it landed, its bright yellow colours were quite startling. It seems to be H. mirabilis Rothschild. Have a look at the variation in this and other species.
A Christmas Beetle, Anoplognathus punctulatus, is a harbinger of summer. For some reason, these beetles are not eaten by Pied Butcher birds. The latter seem to prefer Cane Beetles, at least around my lights.
This small green mantid, Kongobatha diademata Sjøstedt, seems active the year around. It probably lives high in the rainforest canopy.