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.
This small wasp ( a case-moth larvae parasite wasp) was about 10 mm long and very active. The narrow abdomen had thin white bands and a moderate size ovipositor. Head, antennae and thorax were black. The hind legs had black and white markings while the other legs were a pale yellow.
Spotted actively searching low plants (in this case the bumblebee weed) in a riparian area.
An erect plant about a foot high with thin dichotomous branches. The flowers were very small, about 5 mm wide with bright yellow petals. Leaves were small, lanceolate and some had indented margins.
Spotted growing amongst other vegetation like dandelion, sorrel and grass by a walking track, in a national park. It was difficult to see this plant separate to the others growing in the area but the bright yellow flowers looked like little stars suspended amongst tall grass.
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.
This very attractive jumping spider was only about 6 mm long. It looked like two blobs of yellowish-orange but a closer look revealed a spider with a black cepahalothorax with an ochre colored anterior part and three thin white lines, one in the middle and two laterally placed. The abdomen had two bright orange "c"-shaped patterns facing each other with a central orange patch. All this on a background of very pale teal. The third pair of legs seemed to have dense white setae on the tarsi. The four eyes in the front were a deep green. The palps were white.
Spotted on black wattle in a reservoir park.
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 female of a "Tassel Rope-rush" plant. Wiry tough clumps of blue green stems that were mostly prostrate with some branches standing erect up to about 50 cm. no leaves were seen but the branches had nodes with brownish bracts. Terminal flower heads seemed to have what looked like layered bracts with narrow brown flowers.
Male plants nearby.
Commonly called "Tassel Rope-rush", this plant was growing in a clump and would have been about a foot tall stretched out. The clumps formed mats of wiry branclets that were thick and striated (pic 2). At the nodes were what looked like brown leafy bracts. The attractive branched inflorescence looked like clumps of bracts that were coppery, plump and ovoid.
There were no sign of "normal" leaves. Several plants growing together gave the appearance of a tangled mat.
These plants are Dioecious and this one had male flowers.
Spotted in a sclerophyll bush - part of the Cranbourne Botanical Gardens. Soil might have been a little sandy.
Tall plant with beautiful blue flowers with purplish tinge ot the outer surface of sepals. Yellow pollinia was visible at the tip of the column. Stigmatic surface showed a dense tuft of white hairs. Leaves were erect and narrow ( not seen here).
Spotted in semi-shade in a reserve with eucalypts and natives - dry sclerophyll forest.
The flowers bloom in October and November.
This black robber fly was about 15 mm long. The thorax was flat along the midline and symmetrically lumpy on either side. Eyes were large and facing upwards. Stiff white bristles seen between the eyes and on the face. Legs also had stiff white setae. Wings were dark and folded over the abdomen which had white spots on the lateral aspects of some of the tergites.
Spotted flying around dried logs ( Langwarrin Flora & Fauna Reserve).
Synonym: Laphria maura
Pic 1 shows the underside of the cap of this thick white fungus. The fertile surface showed closely packed white "teeth" instead of gills or pores. The teeth were decurrent ( running down the stem) -pic 4. The young fruiting bodies were growing in a clump with some of their thick white stipes fused together. The caps were a pale orange, distorted by mutual pressure and showed in-rolled margins. The stem turned a beautiful orange when bruised or cut.
Growing on a damp eucalyptus forest floor, among leaf and wood debris.
This fantastic antlion looked like many other things ( a piece of moulted reptilian skin, an abandoned cobweb with trapped insects and even dried-up bird dropping.) as it clung to a dried twig. Pic 4 is a dorsal view and Pic 5 from the underside showing a dark abdomen. The head, thorax and abdomen were dark with the last abdominal segments showing some yellow. Antennae were short with slightly curved tips. The spectacular wings looked like lace with dark patterns of black and brown. When in flight, the frames of the wings were hardly visible, showing flashes of dark spatters. Body length (including long fore-wings and antennae) would have been about 50 mm.
Spotted on a dry Goodenia plant in a nature reserve ( Wick's)
Called the "Notched Onion-orchid" this orchid plant was about 50 cm high. I could see a single long sheath like leaf from the centre of which rose a slender green stem bearing a spike of flowers.
The central sepal was hooded covering the petals. Lateral sepals curled backwards. The lip was bilobed with a slightly wavy margin.
At first this plant looked like it had unopened buds- the flowers were so small and are not conspicuous. They are apparently scented !
Spotted in semi-shade.
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)
These sub-conical galls with apical holes are female galls of a gall inducing scale insect. The female galls showed enlarged leaf glands. Some leaves also showed small cylindrical galls with apical openings- these were the males of the same species of scale insect (pic 3). Pic 2 shows galls of both sexes on the one leaf.
The underside of the leaf showed slight discolouration and minimal waxy bloom (pic 4).
Spotted on juvenile leaves of a eucalyptus tree (species unknown) in a nature reserve.
A lobulated gall probably involving terminal leaf buds. the galls were green and red and glossy. they were small, about 5 to 7mm wide. A dissected dry gall ( pics 4 & 5) showed thickened concentric layers of tissue. There was no sign of any life inside the gall.
Spotted on a prickly tea-tree (Leptospermum juniperinum).
This gall is formed by a scale insect of the genus Eremococcus. My thanks to L.Cook for the ID.
Mountain Hickory Wattle Leaf Gall
Several leaves of this young acacia shrub had circular to oval patches of thickened, firm, raised growths with brown encrustation on their pale convex surfaces (pics 1 to 3). The growths were concave on the underside with a outer circle of similar brown crust (pic 4). These patches did not occur in any particular part of the leaf - some involved the mid vein and others anywhere on the leaf lamina. A dissection of one of these structures revealed just thick tough plant tissue.
Spotted on young Mountain Hickory Wattle ( Acacia obliquinervia) shrubs on Mt Donna Buang (1250 masl)
Architect of gall unknown.
Beautiful, showy white flower heads on a medium-sized tree. the flower heads were on narrow upright stems bearing tight clusters of minute flowers with reduced petals ( pic 5). Each flower head had creamy white bracts - about 4 and sometimes 6. These bracts appeared green on younger flowerheads (pic 4) or tinged with pink (pic 3). Leaves had glossy upper surface.
Spotted growing in a reserve in the Dandenong Ranges ( Wet Eucalyptus forest).
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.
This male "Blue Ant" wasp was of a moderate size-15 mm. It had black head, eyes, thorax and abdomen and short black antennae. The abdomen had 3 visible white markings on both dorsal and ventral aspects and perhaps a pair of small white patches at the waist. The anterior thoracic margin was also white.
Wings were tinted and the leading edges appeared black and thickened. Femurs, tibiae and tarsi were brown.
Spotted on tea-tree.
A highly branched black clump of fruiting bodies arising from stem galls. They were about 5 to 12 mm long and stretching out like large magnetised iron-filings.
Spotted arising from stem galls (seen as thickened split lumps) on branches of tea-tree shrubs (Leptospermum sp.) in a reserve - Royal Botanic Gardens in Cranbourne.
This fungus ( basidiomycota) is a parasite on the female gall inducing Eriococcid insect Callococcus leptospermi.
Photo and description of this specimen can also be seen on Bruce Fuhrer's " A field guide to Australian Fungi".
This was a very active fly about 5 or 6 mm long. Head and thorax were black and the thorax showed two faint thin white lines. The head had two short pointed black antennae that were either held straight up like horns (Pic 1) or slicked back.
A long proboscis was out lapping up the nectar on the flower disc (pic 1). The abdomen was a raspberry red with faint white lines. The last segment was black and the two anterior to this were white.
Legs were black and long. The wings were tinted black but plain.
Tony Daley's (Insects of Tasmania) comment on this spotting : "Comes remarkably close to the female of Hardy's (1934) Apalocnemis sanguineus (Qld). That species has the wing dark suffusion more restricted basally. He mentions at the end of that description "a closely allied species" collected from Ringwood (Vic) which has "the wings suffused intensely over a larger area". Hardy (1934) : http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/... Note that Hardy has that species in Empidinae but it is currently placed in Brachystomatidae."
Highly branched clumps of fruiting bodies of slime mold. The sporocarps, about 2 mm high, appeared to have a powdery surface which is presumably a phase that this slime mold undergoes.
Seen on the underside of fallen twigs in a damp area - nature reserve.
Looking very much like small Camellia flower buds, these pea-sized growths could easily be mistaken for flower buds on the tea tree. They were globose, had scaly bract like outer growth and layers of soft sheaths within. They did not appear to have stalks and were seen on branches between nodes.
On cutting one of them open, I found at least two very small maggots at the base, not much over 1 mm in length. The inside of the gall was soft with white fibrous layers.
Spotted on Coastal Tea Tree ( Leptospermum laevigatum)
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)
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)