Melaleuca abundance, Ladybird stages, Bees and a sticky end

We have a number of Melaleuca decussata shrubs prospering in our front yard, of hardy stock acquired from Newstead Natives. They are all at present heavy with flowers.

melaleauca decussata

Melaleuca decussata flower opening.

The profusion of flowers has attracted an abundance of insect life. Large numbers of Ladybird larvae are on both branches and flowers and look vastly different to their adult forms.

Ladybird larva

Ladybird larva on melaleuca flower.

As they start to develop into their pupal stage, they start to look a bit more reminiscent of the adults, even though they will be completely transformed within their pupal case.

Ladybird pupa

Ladybird finalising a pupa, the larva just visible at the point of attachment.

Ladybird adult

Ladybird adult on a nearby Golden Wattle

The flowers have also attracted numerous bees and other pollinators. Myriad tiny sweat bees were too fast for me to photograph, but some slightly large sweat bees tarried long enough for a picture.

Sweat bee

Sweat bee on melaleuca flower, with incoming…

Other, larger bees were also visiting. I think these ones are a species of Short-tongued Bees, possibly of genus Hylaeus. Short-tongued bees are solitary and live in burrows or plant stems.

Bee - Hylaeus sp?

Hylaeus sp?

Along with the abundance of bees is the hidden danger of Crab Spiders (aka Flower Spiders). I think this one is of genus Lehtinelagia. They seem quite capable of landing some large prey by pouncing on visitors to their flowers.

Crab Spider and bee

Crab Spider with prey.

Many beetles are also feasting on the plentiful flowers.

Beetle

Beetle on melaleuca

 

7 responses to “Melaleuca abundance, Ladybird stages, Bees and a sticky end

  1. thanks Patrick for your beautiful photos and interesting commentary

  2. The Ladybird and bees post is sensational. I have just acquired ‘A guide to Native Bees of Australia’ as I have many bees visiting my indigenous garden.
    Thank you again, Anne Gedye

  3. I have been observing such insects in my garden, especially on the native flowers, and others, and find your photos information add to interest and learning. Thank you very much indeed. Geraldine

  4. Hi Patrick, love your critters. Just wondering if you are interested in helping identify other unknown critters from other spots in VIc? Just came across one yesterday and can’t find it browsing on the net. If there’s another place/person I should be asking, please advise. Many thanks.

    • Patrick Kavanagh

      Hi Pam, I am alas no expert on identifying insects and I struggle quite often. I use brisbaneinsects.com and also insects of Tasmania web sites. bowerbird.org.au can also be a very helpful place to post a picture for identification. A friend recently told me that natureshare.org.au is very helpful.

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