An Assassin In The Garden

We've been having a bit of rain lately - and it's been good. Good for the garden, good for the wildlife and frankly, good for the soul. Watching and listening to the rain has to be one of the great human pleasures.

One night this week, I stepped outside between showers and snapped a few of the critters that also call our garden home ...

Flying Fox

This Flying Fox isn't a fully fledged adult. But he was gamely tackling some pawpaws like a pro ... I've already done a post on 'em so if ya wanna learn a little more, it's here.

Predatory Katydid

Predatory Katydids are fascinating, with some species able to mimic the calls of Cicadas - thus luring them to their deaths. Their harsh, penetrating call is a little hard to miss. Still, even though they are quite large - finding one can be a frustrating experience.

At some point I intend to do a post solely dedicated to these amazing insects (the list seems to grow daily lol).

Melanitis leda

With all the rain, some critters - like this Common Evening Brown, seek shelter in the house. Which for a naturalist as lazy as myself, is absolutely perfect :)

Colonel C. T. Bingham wrote of the genus in 1878:

"The Melanitis was there among dead leaves, its wings folded and looking for all the world a dead, dry leaf itself. With regard to Melanitis, I have not seen it recorded anywhere that the species of this genus when disturbed fly a little way, drop suddenly into the undergrowth with closed wings, and invariably lie a little askew and slanting, which still more increases their likeness to a dead leaf casually fallen to the ground".

A typical white-lipped pose

And, of course - a white-lipped tree frog snapped the same night. I am very fortunate to have so many living in the garden/shed/house etc ... They are beautiful. They also make excellent pest controllers but mainly, they just make me smile. I hope they have the same effect on you.

Onto the featured creature.

Saturday and it's raining, but there was a break in the weather so Jo and I decided to slip off for a spot of fishing ...

Like I said ... fishing.

I have no idea why we bother really, but hey - it's fun and it gets us out of the house and me away from the bloody computer for a bit - which is a good thing. True to form though, we caught nothing - so the freezer was our source for sustenance that night ...

Anyway - the critter. When we got home, I wandered down the back to have a look (I do this at least once a day). Where I came upon this Assassin Bug and it's impaled victim. Who I think may be a sawfly.

The pictures speak for themselves I guess. The bug is using it's rostrum to first deliver enzymes that break down the tissues of its preys innards and then acts like a drinking straw to suck out all that protein, this process is called extra-oral digestion.

Yes, I realise - it's all a bit grim - but as I keep trying to tell people. Mother Nature is a nasty piece of work, it's not all cuddly pandas and tiger cubs out there you know.

There was also this handsome fellow - again a 'true bug', but in this case a strict vegetarian - using its rostrum to suck sap from plants.

I really should I.D this bug ...

Reduviidae: As nymphs, some species will cover and camouflage themselves with debris or the remains of dead prey insects, forming a very effective camouflage. The nymphal instars of the species Acanthaspis pedestris present one good example of this behaviour where they occur in Tamil Nadu in India.

Another well-known species is Reduvius personatus, known as the masked hunter because of its habit of camouflaging itself with dust ^

Well, that's it - hope you enjoyed the post.

Take Care :)


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