This female adult felt scale looked like a 5 mm long and wide, slightly raised peach-coloured patch on a leaf. The leaf surface surrounding it was damaged. faint body segments could be seen on the upper surface which had wispy white waxy secretions. The underside (pic 1) showed three pairs of legs, a slight depression between the first pair of legs ( ? mouth) and well defined abdominal segments. A pair of antennae were visible when the scale was turned over.
Spotted on a eucalyptus tree in a reserve. Several leaves were affected by these scale but there was no more than one per leaf.
My thanks to Dr Lyn Cook who identified this as Lobimago sp. , a Lobe-margin Felt Scale. Family: Eriococcidae
Dr Cook writes " Was in genus Lachnodius but transferred to Lobimago by Hardy et al in 2011." . At present on ALA as Lachnodius.
A vermiform larva about 20 mm long with pointy ends. The tail end appeared bifid. The white body had deep blue patterns.
Spotted on dry soil in a garden. Did not appear to like sun light and actively dug through the dry dirt.
The flowers in this species were smaller and not as robust as in C. valida which has purplish flowers. The flowers had just a slight tinge of purple and the leaves, that were paired were all green and small. Flower buds (pic 3) were a pale green.
A small plant about 10 cm high with lance-shaped leaves. The flowers were attractive with the central sepal (green) and lateral petals (brown) fused to form a hood, rising up and over the labellum. The lateral sepals were fused at the base and rose up on either side to erect points. The inside of the hood showed broad white stripes (pic 5). The same colouring could be seen on the outer side of the flower (pic 3).
These were large earthstars, about 45 mm across. They were fully open with split pale rays of areolated outer skins (exoperidia). In the centre was a smooth rounded spore sac with a central pore through which the spores are released. These earthstars were sessile .
Spotted on moist ground under pine trees.
With contorted pale orange caps about 25 mm, these fruiting bodies were growing close to the ground. The cap margins were mealy and white.The fertile under-surface had densely packed spines or teeth instead of pores and these were slightly decurrent (pic 2). The whote stipe were otherwise smooth.
Spotted on sodden forest floor in a reserve.
This attractive dark brown butterfly had a wing span of about 50 mm. Both fore and hind wings had bright yellow patterns much like the common brown, except only the hind wing had a distinct eye spot (on the upper side). This butterfly showed a long style-like yellow marking on the fore wing ( pic 1), which is a sex-brand and seen only in males. The underside of the fore wings showed a dark patch on a background of pale gold with a small eye spot at the apex. The hind wing had beautiful patches of purple with two small eye spots, one near the costal margin and the other near the trailing margin.
Spotted on a grass verge in a nature reserve. It was flitting about landing one one clump of grass for a few seconds before going to another.
An attractive grey-brown geometrid moth with fine brown and black lines and a wing span of about 50 mm. The wings had narrow black bands contrasting with flashes of white. The undersides of the wings were pale with a black mark on each wing. The dark submarginal areas on each wing was broken by a pale patch.
Spotted in a suburban garden.
Looking like a 5 mm piece of bird-dropping, this little black and white capsule is a cocoon of an ichneumon wasp. It was attached to the leaves on this young tree and wrapped around it was the skin of its larval host - a lepidopteran. Mimicking bird-dropping and wrapping the skin of the larval host over and around is, apparently, one of the many strategies employed by ichneumonids to escape attacks from hyperparasitoids. Spotted on a young black wattle (Acacia mearnsii) in a nature reserve.
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.