The bush in our yard at Strangways is a constant source of invertebrate subjects at this time of year – and they reveal a range of strategies for protection.
Lifting a rock I found this impressive and somewhat intimidating little Marbled Scorpion (Lychas marmoreus).
This magnificent specimen, although well-armed, seemed to hope the intruder – me – would not notice and leave her alone. As soon as my attention shifted, she slid under another rock. I wonder if the bulge in the midriff might be pregnancy.
Marbled Scorpion #2
Plenty of eyes and quite a mouth
On branch of a Silver Wattle, I found the youngest Acacia Horned Treehopper nymph I’ve met to date. Another case of “If I don’t move, you’ll think I’m part of this branch.”
Acacia Horned Treehopper nymph
Whilst looking at a Grey Box leaf stem, I noted what looked very like a little gall or lump of vegetation, only a couple of mm long. When I got the macro lens onto it, I could see it was a tiny Long-nosed Weevil (Haplonyx sp) that had tucked its nose under to look like a gall.
In my last post https://geoffpark.wordpress.com/2017/11/23/speedwell-wallaby-grass-and-some-of-their-fans/ , I incorrectly labeled this little bloke a Cricket nymph. A bit more research has revealed that it is a Gum Leaf Katydid nymph, probably the 1st or 2nd instar. Whilst these nymphs can’t fly, their defence is to look something like an ant or spider – unappetising or threatening to potential predators. As they develop, they end up with the superb eucalypt leaf disguise that I’m more familiar with for katydids. Thanks to bowerbird.org.au for confirming the identity of this little cutie.
Gum Leaf Katydid nymph (Torbia viridissima) on Long-leafed Box
I’ve wondered where the term katydid comes from – it seems that it’s the sound made by an American species. I’ve also wondered about the extraordinary mouth parts of these animals. The little segmented “arms” coming off from around the mouth are called palps and are tasting organs. This one is perhaps tasting whatever it’s cleaning off its tiny feet.
A bit of cleaning.
PS: For those who enjoy photographs of tiny things, I will have an exhibition of macro photos “Small World” at Newstead’s Dig Cafe from December 19th. Hope you’ll be able to come along.