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Common Crow butterfly chrysalis

9 Mar

Recently I found a Common Crow (Euploea core) caterpillar.

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Euploea core caterpillar

I decided to track the progress of the amazing chrysalis they make. A beautiful, golden metallic colour, that looks more like a piece of jewelry than anything else.

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Euploea core chrysalis

Progess above from Day 1 to about Day 9.

And finally, a beautiful Common Crow butterfly emerges.

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Bush walk snaps

30 Sep

Today I took the kiddos out for a bush walk to see what goodies we could find.  It seemed at first it was all for naught, but then things picked up speed.

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Casemoth/bagworm caterpillar and case.

We keep points whenever someone spots something, and CJ came out of the gates strong with the Casemoth caterpillar spotting and then…

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Dragonfly

this beautiful dragonfly. The kids got an eye.

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Tree-running Mantid - Ciulfina sp.

Next up we saw this beautiful Tree-running Mantid. I just love how the colour blends with the tree.

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Cicada

We found this cicada moments after spotting an exoskelton. Which my brave girl put on her shirt like a broach.

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Next we found this assassin bug nymph. Such little pieces of artwork.

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Assassin bug nymph

Some of you may have no idea what this next thing is, and I didn’t at first, but this is the secret hideaway of the Spittle bug.

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Spittle bug hideout

The Spittle bug is in the Family Aphrophorid, in the order Hemiptera. (Think Leafhopper) These nymphs form a little cubby of spittle around themselves to protect from predators and dehydration; it is theorized. I see a lot of these in pine trees.

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And lastly, a picture of three happy, bush-walking, insect-hunting kiddos.

Plume moth-Family Pterophoridae

25 Sep

Plume moths are one of the most unique moths, in that when they are at rest, they hold their wings (which they roll up) lateral to their body, creating their signature resting ‘T’ shape.

I found this large plume moth resting on my kitchen window.
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Saunders Case Moth-Metura elongatus

23 Jun

Uni studies have me pretty swamped anymore, but I had to share my latest find. Here’s a video of a Saunders Case Moth caterpillar I found on an evergreen tree. These guys are usually timid and hide when you approach, but this cutie actually came out for a play.

These case moth caterpillars are one of the largest in Australia, with their cases sometimes reaching 12-15 cm (5-6 inches) long! You can see in the video the caterpillar is nothing to sneeze at either , although as an adult moth they surprisingly small.

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The male will pupate and then leave the case to find a suitable mate. The female, who is wingless, will stay in her case indefinitely and await her prince.

The Emergence!

15 Oct

Today got off to an amazing start. I went to check on the chrysalis as usual and noticed this…

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Can you see the wings??
And I read that once you can see the wings through the chrysalis, the emerging happens quickly. So, of course I was stalking it as I was trying to get two kids ready for school and get a baby dressed.  And wouldn’t you know it, I missed the actual unveiling!

I’ve watched this thing go from caterpillar to chrysalis and patiently checked on it multiple times a day just to be able to see it happen. But nature has a clock of her own and you’ve got to be diligent (and quick) to keep up.

And, as the website(s) had warned, I went back in to find a perfect butterfly resting on the empty chrysalis. 

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And, although I cursed myself for taking too long making toast this morning, I was truly happy to see it there.

I took it outside, after I saw some wing movement, and placed it in the Mock Orange bush where it continued to dry its wings and eventually flew away and onto the rest of its life.

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Here’s a picture of the evolution from caterpillar to butterfly.

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Common Crow caterpillar and chrysalis

13 Oct

My mother-in-law’s yard had the most insect activity I had seen since leaving Byfield.  One thing I saw quite regularly, on a few different plants, was the Common Crow caterpillar. I was actually lucky enough to be there long enough to see one form its chrysalis.  (Butterflies form a chrysilas,  moths form a cocoon.)

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Common Crow caterpillar

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Day 1 of chrysalis

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Day 2 of chrysalis

My mother-in-law hadn’t seen these since her childhood in Julia Creek when they were on the Oleander bushes on her family’s property.  And the best part? My awesome mum-in-law let me chop off the branch the chrysalis was on so I could bring it home. I’m still waiting on the butterfly’s arrival but am having lots of fun watching it.

               More to come!

Quick Post-Tomato plant stowaway

7 Sep

Look what I found on my tomato plant! It’s some sort of caterpillar inside of a silken/web cocoon. I’m assuming it is a tomato/cabbage looper of some sort but I need to do a bit more research to find out for sure.  But since my garden is completely overgrown, I’m not really picky about who takes up residence.  So, I think I’ll wait this one out and see what emerges.  Stay tuned! 

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