A Zoological Flu

With a week that's seen me contracting the plague (a cold or flu), I've been all wobbly and cranky - with loads of whinging and general miserableness. Still, after dragging myself off the couch and wading through a sea of tissues, I've managed a few snaps to share with ya's ... (no, no - don't thank me, send beer).

Like I've said before - the butterflies and moths are out and about in force and who doesn't enjoy the flashes of colour as they waft by?

Cycad blue Theclinesthes onycha

Heliotrope Moth Utetheisa pulchelloides

Mycalesis perseus

A whole new generation begins

Hypolimnas bolina (F)

As always, with the prey come the predators. Wasps, birds, reptiles and amphibians are pretty well represented around the place and here's a small selection from this past week who've stopped by ...

Cryptocheilus bicolor

This wasp is a predator of the Huntsman Spiders (family Sparassidae) and Wolf Spiders (Lycosidae). It paralyses the spider by stinging it in its underside. The prey is then and dragged to a burrow, dug by the female using shovel-like hairs on its front legs. The wasp then lays an egg on the spider, and conceals the nesting chamber at the end of the burrow. When the grub hatches it feeds on the spider before pupating in a thin silky cocoon in the cell ^

I'm furious with myself - I had a much better pic of this wasp, but thanks to being somewhat woolly-headed at the moment, I managed to delete it and it couldn't be recovered. This is a most interesting predatory insect and I'm determined to get some more pics as soon as I'm able - so stay tuned (or not, completely up to you eh?).

Carlia sp

This assassin bug was using it's rostrum to draw nectar from these flowers

The antenna and leg make it look like this weaver ant is saluting - made me smile anyway

Riptortus serripes 3rd stage instar

At first glance - you could be forgiven for thinking that the above insect is also a weaver or green tree ant. However, it is actually the instar of yet another 'true' bug of the Alydidae family. The ant mimicry is deliberate and affords the insect some protection against predation - the boffin term for this is Batesian mimicry.

Batesian mimicry is a form of mimicry typified by a situation where a harmless species has evolved to imitate the warning signals of a harmful species directed at a common predator. It is named after the English naturalist Henry Walter Bates, after his work in the rainforests of Brazil.

Batesian mimicry is the most commonly known and widely studied of mimicry complexes, such that the word mimicry is often treated as synonymous with Batesian mimicry. There are many other forms however, some very similar in principle, others far separated.

Of note, it is often contrasted with Müllerian mimicry, a form of mutually beneficial convergence between two or more harmful species. However, because the mimic may have a degree of protection itself, the distinction is not absolute. ^

Philemon buceroides continue to use the garden as a smorgasbord

Brilliant birds that they are. Now, do you remember that post on feeding wild frogs? ... I have a small update for you. The other night I snuffled my way outside and said G'day to the jolly green giant who lives in the water feature ... I didn't really think much of it, but as I was heading past again a little later ... well, a picture speaks a thousand words and all that eh?

Green Tree Frog Litoria caerulea

... and then there were three!

Now what to me is really interesting is that we watched the large female attempt to predate a small cane toad. She spat it out as no doubt it tasted like deep fried gumboot and happily the frog didn't seem to suffer any ill effects from the encounter. But what I'm wondering is, why doesn't she eat the smaller frog(s) that are sharing her abode?.

Frogs can and very often do cannibalise each other but so far at least, this one has shown absolutely no signs of doing so. The only answer I've come up with is that there's such a plentiful supply of other food sources the instinct to eat anything she can fit into her mouth is suppressed. Of course, this begs the question - why then did she attempt to eat the cane toad at all?

A little mystery eh?

A word on the pics in this post. They were all taken using manual settings and manual focus - I'm slowly getting my head around the whole photography thing and enjoying myself immensely in the process.

However, it's reached the point that I feel a little restricted by the camera(s) we have and so I've started the hunt for some new kit ... so hopefully in the not to distant future (if I live that long), I'll have something new to share with you - I'll let you know.

In the meantime we'll just continue to plod away.

Till next time and as always -

Take Care - Paul :)