This observation features just one tree which accommodated every stage of the life-cycle of the common imperial blue or imperial hairstreak butterfly. Pic 1 shows a male butterfly resting beside a pupa. Pic 2 shows a cluster of pale blue-grey eggs with fascinating spikey outer coverings (see reference link in notes). The caterpillar in pic 3 had small horn-like tubercles along the dorsal aspect of the body. Pic 4 shows a cluster of glossy dark pupae and pic 5 shows the exuviae.
Pic 6 is that of an adult.
Every stage of this butterfly was attended by hoards of ants (Iridomyrmex ). They were running around all over the tree , clustering in large numbers around the pupae. There were ants around the eggs and caterpillar.
Another interesting feature was the fine webbing around the eggs and the pupae.
Spotted on a black wattle tree (Acacia mearnsii) near wetlands at a retarding basin.
A very hairy but attractive jumping spider about 100 mm long. The dorsal aspect of the abdomen had reddish brown pattern with an inverted "Y" in black. Legs were hairy and banded.
Spotted on a eucalyptus tree trunk in a park.
The main picture shows a dissected gall exposing larvae at various stages of development with pale pink segmented bodies and a few eggs (pic 4). The galls were about 3 to 4 mm wide, shiny and green with knobbly tips. They seemed to arise from tips of leaflets (pinnules) and involved most of the leaflet (pic 2). Several of these galls were seen on the pinnae. Pic 4 shows a developing gall on a leaflet. The larvae seemed to have segments differentiated into thoracic and abdominal segments and there appeared to be three pairs of legs (pic 6) suggesting that these were mature and close to pupation ?. I assume these are midge galls and would greatly appreciate confirmation.
- ? Austroacacidiplosis botrycephalae
Spotted on Black Wattle (Acacia mearnsii) in a nature reserve ( Glenfern Valley Bushland Reserve)
Very often we find eucalyptus leaves that have been delaminated and puffed into a 'pillow' with a large internal void. This tiny wasp might be part of the story. It was at a rough opening on this puffed leaf and seems to be extricating itself from a skin just inside the hole. About 6mm long with distinctive black pterostigma and a longish flexed abdomen.. It turns out that this is a type of sawfly. Black over the thorax should be Phylacteophaga froggatti (male)
This beefly had a wingspan of about 15 mm. The basal part of the wings were black and this ended in a smooth wavy line. The rest of the wings were clear. Head, thorax and abdomen were black. The abdomen had a soft velvety look and was truncated with the rear end covered with pale setae.
Spotted in a suburban garden.
These are scale insect galls seen on the adaxial side of the leaf . The broad-based conical outgrowths are female galls. There were two of these, one at the base of the leaf base and another along the main vein. the gall was purplish and had a ring near the base. One of the galls showed two openings and the other a single smooth circular orifice. Also on the leaf surface were many upright tubular structures with apical openings with crenulated margins. These were male galls and they were tinged red.
Spotted on a eucalyptus tree - ? species. Nature reserve.
My thanks to Dr L.Cook for confirming genus and identifying the species.
These can vary from copper-gold to a deep blue colour. This one a green-blue female. About 25mm long overall and just clinging to the topmost part of a small spiny acacia. In a local nature reserve. Glenfern Valley Reserve.
Pics taken 2 weeks apart. The underside changed from a pale, poreless creamy colour to a very rich yellow colour, and the tops went from yellow to quite dark brown. On the shaded underside of an old, damp eucalyptus log.
Wicks nature reserve.
Sometimes called 'Hairy Curtain Crust'
About 24mm long. Resting on a shopfront awning. Only one shot unfortunately. Next to a large national park. Dandenong Ranges NP.
The yellow fuzz is indicative for species. The larvae really are omnivorous eating Wattles Acacia, Gum Trees, Pultenaea, Dodonaea, Choretrum, Myoporum and Tamarix.
About 22mm wingspan. Resting on a shop window at night. Angled corners on hind wings are indicative.
Drawn to lights at night opposite a large national park. Dandenong Ranges NP.
Larvae feed on Aotus ericoides, (FABACEAE)
This handsome male cossid moth was grey with fine black lines on wings. Some parts of the wings were tinged with a pale brown.The tufted grey thorax had two bands of black. Legs had thick setae and tarsi were banded.
Spotted under bright lights near a national park.
Will somebody pull this wetsuit off please?
About 12mm body length this spider is trying to shed an old skin with only the legs yet to be extricated. Pic 2 is correct orientation so gravity may be an important factor. Also interesting is the two retaining lines; one from the original abdomen and one from the new. Did the abdomen come out first and place another line before proceeding?
On eucalyptus branches in a local nature reserve. Gilmour Park.
(need to add ' Deliochus pulcher ')
A ladybug larva that resembles a white nudibranch and is a voracious scale bug eater. About 12mm long at this stage. Exploring the outer branches of an Acacia mearnsii. One of about a dozen.
In a local nature reserve. Gilmour Park.
This slender leaf beetle was about 10 mm long. Ihad heavily pitted elytra with black, cream and purple stripes. The elytra appear to be drawn out into short spines at the apices.
The black thorax had a median ridge. Segmented antennae and the legs were black.
The beetle was resting with its body along the axis of the plant, the purplish stripes merging well with the plant.
Spotted on cutting grass (Gahnia grandis)
Strange little cases built with three offset chambers. About 12mm long overall. Several were found on a single callistemon plant always about midway on a stem. This is Tortricidae, Olethreutinae, Eucosmini, Spilonota sp.
This downy caterpillar was about 25 mm long. It had a brown and cream blotchy appearance. First pictures displaying displeasure - raised and tucked in head to display black bands and erectile horns. After about 20 min. the caterpillar had descended the branch and was resting with its body totally camouflaged against the branch (pic 4). Spotted on young eucalyptus tree - nature reserve ( Wicks)
Used to be called 'Breda jovialis' Estimated 10% of the prey size. Perfect attack site. Bite 'n hang on ! Found under pavilion eaves. Yet to search for prey ID
Reminds me of the weasel on the woodpecker.