Tag Archives: australian insects

Sub-adult Goliath stick insect

9 Oct

Hey everyone! Just wanted to share a video of me holding (just one of) my beautiful sub-adult female Goliath stick insects. These gals will get quite a fair bit larger after their next molt, and be a beautiful green! 

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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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Cotton Harliequin Bugs

5 Mar

Every year at this time, the flame trees at my girls’ school just erupts in hundreds of Cotton Harlequin Bugs (Tectocoris diopthalmus). The flame trees (Brachychiton sp.) have these fuzzy seed pods, that contain urticating  hairs all over them which can cause itching to whoever touches them.  The insects are fine with them however, with the nymphs tending to congregate inside the seed pods at times.  The mothers of this species lay eggs around a branch, and guards the eggs until they hatch.  The young will usually cluster together as a way of defense against predators-powers in numbers when you’re a small stink bug. When disturbed they can emit a foul odor (I think it rather smells like a mild cleaner), which in turn hopefully make the predator think they are inedible. 20160304_084034

Over the course of a few weeks, the nymphs will undergo a series of molts (shedding exoskeleton) to grow, and will change colour in the process.  The newly hatched nymphs are a bright red, then turning to greens and blues in consecutive molts, and finally settling on a bright orange in adulthood.  Males can also be orange and red but tend to have brighter spots of blue and green on them, where the females are just orange with sometimes no spots, and sometimes with very muted coloured spots.

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Nymphs at various stages of growth.

 

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Male, female and nymph Cotton Harlequin bugs on seed pod.

I’ll be doing a follow up post on these, because the other day for the first time, I noticed two separate clusters of nymphs, on different seed pods.  They were the same size, but one cluster were the red ones you see above, the other group were all green/blue.  I’ve never noticed this before so I’m thinking perhaps the females and males cluster together.  And that means the picture of the red ones above would be all female.  I can’t find information on this, and up to now have read and assumed all nymphs resembled each other until adulthood.  I didn’t have my camera but will be getting a picture soon of the difference.

Giant Waterbug/Toe Biter

15 Jan

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Like my new hair accessory? Now, before anyone goes warning me about this bad boy “biting” me, I’ll let you know it’s dead. I found it that way. And if you don’t know what this beautiful creature is, it’s the Giant Water Bug (Lethocerus insulanus). Or more commonly known as the Toe Biter, in many parts of the world.

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These guys feed in water (although they can fly)on small fish, tadpoles and your toes, should you step in the water. Just kidding…sort of. 

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As you can see in the picture, their front legs have a small hook like claw, helpful when pulling in prey. They feed (put simply) by sticking their mouthpart, known as a rostrum, into their prey,  injecting a saliva that helps liquify it, and then sucking it up.

And I’ve heard rumor that a piercing from one of these guys is quite painful. But aren’t they stunning to look at?

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.

Neuroptera larvae

22 Sep

I won’t even try to guess whether these alien beings are owlfly or antlion larvae, but consider that two years ago my discovery of these made me think aliens had in fact landed, and I’m just happy I can ID these weird suckers…to a point.

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I was doing my nightly “flip everything over to see what turns up” rounds when I stumbled on these guys. They looked like chunks of dirt,  but those gorgeous mandibles were a dead giveaway.

So, although these things seem to have just landed from somewhere in outerspace, they are just the larvae of lacewings, antlions, and owlflies in the order Neuroptera. (More on that later ;))

Goliath Stick insect nymph

12 Sep

These guys are hatching so quickly now! I’m trying to get more video of these and the Spiny Leaf’s hatching, so be patient. Just couldnt help share a quick little picture with you all. They probably aren’t more than an inch long. 🙂

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