Saturday, 7 July 2012

Out And About

It is the Dry Season (tropical winter) and things are a bit slow but there is still some activity. Here are a few rather recent items that may be interest.
The Cast-net spider Deinopsis, family Deinopidae, Deinopsis sp., is a favourite. This spider constructs a net that it throws over an unsuspecting victim.
Oncopera sp is usually a harbinger of cold weather. It is a hepialid-not one of the most attractive of the family but a nice moth to have around.
One of the native Australian Dung beetles, Temnoplectron politulum. This is one of several species encountered in rainforests after dark. They perch on leaf surfaces awaiting the the "call" of fresh dung from native nocturnal mammals.

The Calephorops, Calephorops viridis Sjostedt, Acrididae: Acridinae; Acridini is at home in short grass or along the margins of disturbed habitats. It is often found along the shore of marine situations where it seems to be associated with stiff grasses like saltgrass, Distichilis. It can often be found living on the margins of athletic fields. It is a noisy grasshopper and produces a buzzing flight that lasts for less than half a second. It is much smaller than the related Froggattina australis (Walker), males averaging about 15 mm in length. Here it is perching on a grass blade.

The Spotted Spur-throated Locust, Austracris basalis (Walker), Acrididae: Catantopinae; Cyrtacanthacridinae is one of several grasshoppers that overwinter in the adult stage in the tropics. Others can overwinter as eggs or as developing nymphs. Adults like this one are usually in "reproductive diapause", that means they do not mate nor do they lay eggs at this time. The pots on the tegmina (forewings) are often distinctive of this species. The genus Austracris contains more than six species within Australia and in the Indo-Malayan and Pacific region and is in need of revision.
Head and thorax (pronotum) of the specimen above. The stripe below the eye seems distinctive of the genus.
The Light-brown Sharptail, Stenocatantops vitripennis (Sjostedt), Acrididae: Catantopinae; Catantopini; Catantopina (quite a name!) is another species that overwinters and as adult. It will produce several generations over the course of the year. It is common in the tropics from coast to coast where it lives in dry grass. It is quick to take flight when disturbed.
Dorsal view of above.


2 comments:

Crash said...

the net casting spider is on my must see list! you get the best critters! ... green here ...

Cheers for the post

Peter Forward said...

Great site, beaut photos. I was searching google images for what I think were a kind of Fulgoridae which were hibinating in a gully near Kilkivan (July). They fell on my in thousands. I have some photos but nothing like what you can do. Also photographed Tirumala hamata and other butterflies in same gully.