It’s a jungle out there!

by Patrick Kavanagh

I think most people around Newstead are pretty fed up with mosquitoes at present. Pausing anywhere outside for a few moments seems to inevitably involve a blood donation to help the ladies with their breeding. On Sunday night, I was checking out the possibilities for macrophotography and amongst an abundance of Brown and Green Lacewings, Crane Flies and other flies, there were many mosquitoes that were feeding in the glands at the base of Golden Wattle leaves. I have found mosquitoes very hard to photograph (on vegetation rather than my skin) as they fly off at the hint of an approach, but these were so intent on their feast that I could move the branch quite roughly to get a better composition and they would not move. Neither did I get a single bite. I was quite amazed at how beautiful and graceful they appear when they’re not sticking their proboscises into me or buzzing around my ear. It looks like there are 2 species here, but I don’t know if they are males or females not in the midst of breeding.


Brown Lacewing, Strangways, 23rd October 2016




Green Lacewing


Lauxaniid Fly











5 responses to “It’s a jungle out there!

  1. Helen Schofield, Geelong

    Fantastic mossie photos! Glad they are feeding there and not on us.

  2. Fascinating photographs Patrick. How exquisite each one. You help us to understand the complexity of the insect world. Our insect eating birds are fat from feasting.

  3. Great photos, Patrick. I got very well acquainted with Mossie number IV yesterday in Muckleford yesterday – so furry and stripey. And bitey! At least the microbats and swallows and martins must be celebrating!

  4. Wonderful observations backed by great pics Patrick! Is this something ‘new’ to science? I’ve never heard of insects feeding on petiole ‘glands’ – my ignorance? And that mozzies do it is extraordinary… a little akin to the Vietnamese NLF doing emergency ‘blood’ transfusions plugged straight into fresh green coconuts: sterile with nutrients and sugars to elevate BP and mitigate against vascular shock – just thinking to myself here …
    carlo canteri
    clarke lane

  5. Oh, I’ve also had another tangential thought. During the cold months I’ve used a little $5 kitchen vegie-slasher with those rotating blades to produce finely crumbed multigrain ( from some of the chook bread) to feed a hanging small-birds’ table, covered with plastic lattice mesh, under our Pergola. It’s visible from the kitchen sink and work bench. I reasoned that an extra food source might help the families of Fairy Wrens, Silver Eyes, Fire-tail Finches and others to get confidence and a good start into their breeding season. Which seems to have happened – but with a sudden drop in attendance at the table. Now just the odd sparrow and Wattlebirds. This seems to have coincided with the great burst of mozzies, moths and other insects over this past week. I even left my wood shed light on all night, reasoning that the small birds would be all over the crawling wall around the light and on the ground below. You could almost hear them belch and fart as they flew past! Chockers mate! Our joy at the moment is that we seem to be having Pardelotes nesting though a gap in our East Verandah shingles – the ones with the least spotty markings?

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