Invertebrate Awakening

As the days warm and the bush bursts into bloom, a wave of invertebrate species have set forth to feed, breed and be eaten.

The Shiny Everlastings at our place at Strangways Xerochrysum viscosum are not only providing food for pollinators, but have been visited by aphids intent on sucking their sap. On close inspection, I found a Lacewing larva slowly creeping towards a bunch of aphids and sinking in its very sharp mandibles. I didn’t see the aphids running from their fate.

Lacewing larva

Lacewing larva tucking into aphids

On one Everlasting leaf was a pair of Bathurst Burr flies mating. These colourful flies were introduced to Australia to help control the weed. Thanks to bowerbird.org for identifying this one!

Bathurst Burr Fly (Euaresta sp.)

Bathurst Burr Fly (Euaresta sp)

Also on the Shiny Everlastings were some tiny insects less than 1mm long. The macro lens showed it to be what looked like a tiny leafhopper nymph. I’m happy to be corrected if this is not what it is.

Leafhopper nymph? (<1mm long)

Leafhopper nymph?

Our Cypress Daisy bushes, local provenance acquired from Newstead Natives, are in heavy flower and attracting myriad small beetles and other insects. One Looping Caterpillar (Chlenias sp. perhaps?) was feasting on the flowers.

Looping Caterpillar

Looping caterpillar

I was also pleased to find this handsome weevil enjoying the flowers.

Weevil

Floating through the Everlastings and the grasses were numerous Crane Flies. I was surprised to see so many as they normally seem to flourish after good rains when the mosses host their hungry larvae. The adults just hang from vegetation with their long legs waiting for a mate.

Crane Fly

Crane Fly profile

Crane Fly

Crane Fly front on

Crane Fly

Crane Fly up close

 

12 responses to “Invertebrate Awakening

  1. Absolutely awesome imagery!

  2. Helen Schofield

    What fantastic photography! Thank you for showing us what we normally wouldn’t be aware of.

  3. Patrick, I would very much like to use your photo of the lacewing larva (Micromus tasmaniae), feeding on aphids. Could you please email to me on kennedyh@iinet.net.au
    Ken Harris

  4. Fabulous. Love these macro shots. I’m inspired to save up for some better lenses.

  5. It is great to be made more aware of the insect world with such wonderful shots.

  6. Amazing photos Patrick!!

  7. These are certainly photos to be very proud of, such clarity, and as someone before me said, enlightening to see close up what we cannot, with our failing eyes. Thank you Patrick!

  8. As always, fantastic photos Patrick.

  9. I’m intrigued by the reference to Bathurst Burr flies.I have spent many hours hoeing Bathurst Burrs (and studying insects) but have not come across these as a biological controller.
    What is the history of the scheme? where? Was is successful? Has there been an analysis of the idea?
    Terry Allan

    • Patrick Kavanagh

      To be honest Terry, I have no idea. The identification came from bowerbird.org.au and I did a bit of searching on the net but I’m not familiar with the story at all.

  10. The one that looks like a leafhopper nymph is an adult psyllid (family Psyllidae). Great picture.

  11. Pingback: A few invertebrate finds | Natural Newstead

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