|Suzanne at the Insect Museum|
Here's a link for your perusal Daintree Entomological Museum.
We left the museum and headed for our destination where we dumped our bags, applied some insect repellent [ironic huh?] and hit the walking tracks. Now, if you've ever gone out specifically looking for one creature or another - you'll know just how unusual it is for your search to be rewarded. Happily, on this occasion we were in luck. It wasn't long before Jo spotted one and with our eye in the rainforest seem to be teeming with peppermint stick insects!.
I couldn't believe just how beautiful these insects are. And the range of colours and hues was mind blowing - from pale green to turquoise with blue, yellow and pink highlights - punk rockers of the pandanus eh?
Look on the Pandanus plant, checking for obvious signs of feeding - these nocturnal feeders like to wait out the day by laying in the grooves of the plants leaves. If disturbed they will slip backwards into the lowest stems. Take care in Pandanus as the leaves are spiny and sharp - but you'll figure that out pretty quickly I guess.
|Pandanus [and yep, there are actually two PSI's on that plant]|
As I have never looked for these insects before, it was difficult for me to judge whether they are as common as they appeared to be or if we had just stumbled upon a boom time ...?
Peppermint Stick Insects are so named because of the milky discharge they spray [with some accuracy] from glands in their thorax that smells strongly of peppermint but it's extremely irritating to the eye [and I don't imagine it tastes quite like peppermint either] - if it does, let me know.
|Note the white [peppermint smelling] substance on the thorax of this male|
It seemed to me that the males [males have noticeably longer wings], were much more 'trigger happy' than the females - perhaps because conditions were perfect for breeding?. Bloody men eh?.
|Preparing to mate|
|Female [lighter indicates scale] note the ravaged plant|
Of course it wasn't all about peppermint stick insects, this beautiful bug below landed on my shirt while I was attempting to take his picture - obviously not camera shy eh?
|hold it ... hold it ....|
Sometimes things just work out - but as always, this picture just does not do this insect, [which was around the size of the first joint of my thumb] enough justice - and I would've preferred a shot of it on the plant - but ya can't have everything eh?.
|Ixora Shield Bug Catacanthus punctus|
Unfortunately, we also came across a sounder [group] of wild pigs and it's not often I wish I had a rifle on me these days, but that would be one occasion as they are so destructive and have no place in a national park ... but then, of course, neither do firearms I suppose.
All in all, it was a fantastic day and we capped it off by heading to the cleverly named 'Whet', bar, restaurant and cinema. Where we met some more great people including the owner Matt and his mate Andrew - both of whom made us feel really welcome and believe me, if you're looking for a place in the Daintree to [ahem] whet your whistle, enjoy some very groovy ambience and eat quality food all at reasonable prices then stop in there and check it out - you won't be disappointed - promise!.
There's much more to post, but time is pressing so until next time - take care :).