Sunday, 17 December 2017

Cicada Feast

This is a very big summer for Cicadas and we have continuous Cicada singing from dawn to dusk. A number of species can be heard from the almost continuous hissing calls to pulsing drumming. It so prevalent that it just becomes a white background sound almost like the noise of traffic at a busy intersection. In the video You can hear various calls in the background of the song of the cicada on the tree.
I have posted a couple of cicada species previously but today have another to add to our list, the Floury Baker (so called due to their floury appearance when the emerge from their nymph skin) Aleeta curvicosta.


 Another cicada photographed today was a female Cherrynose Macrotristvia angularis, (I have previously posted a photo of a male)

I noted that one of our trees Angophora floribunda  seemed to be a magnet for cicadas with large number on the branches and a real ear splitting noise coming from the location.
A movement high in the branches gave away the location of another who had noticed the abundance of cicadas and was busy consuming any that came in reach.

As you can see this character has been gorging on cicadas, but was still going for more, making the most of this glut of food.
There was a smaller Lace Monitor on another part of the tree but did not seem to be as proficient in getting cicadas as this very large one.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Crimson on show

I found this moth last week, but have been away so this is first chance to post the photo.
What is interesting is the variation in markings, as was noted when I previously posted a photo of this species (August 2016), with no crimson showing and the markings on the upper fore wing were very pronounced.

 The stronger markings appear to be more representative of the species if the selection of images on the web are any guide.
I was pleased to be able to get a showing of the crimson body and a glimpse of the rear wings.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Flash colours

Last night a quite large moth (a little worse for wear) was attracted by the light to the kitchen window, which enabled a photo of the underside. Although not very good it was the only chance before it was disturbed by a smaller moth and flew off.

Outside I found it on the verandah ceiling and was able to get a quick photo with the light from my phone before it was on the move again.

The upper view seemed familiar not instantly recognised, but I was hopeful of getting a better photo to use for ID and as luck would have it the moth landed back on the window and I was able to get a flash photo.

The seemingly black wingspan of around 60mm was transformed into beautiful colours and patterns of a species that I recorded almost 2 yrs ago. It Is one of the Noctuidae family, subfamily Catocalinae, species Donuca lanipes common name Zigzag White Banded Noctuid. It ranges through tropical Northern Territory and Queensland south to central NSW with a few stragglers to southern NSW. It is not very common and little is know about the larvae food source or the biology of the species.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Eastern Water Dragon sunbaking.

Every now and then I catch a glimpse of a lizard that is in the garden near the pool and once when it was in the pool but until today I haven't been able to get a positive ID.
I heard a rustle in the vegetation and found that the lizard had moved into the centre of a Cycas and was happy the enjoy the sun. It stayed there whilst I got the camera and was able to get a couple of photos.

 I wrongly identified it as a fully grown adult Jacky Lizard  Amphibolurus Muricatus  but I have since been able to get another photo which contradicts my ID and shows the Lizard to be a youngish Eastern Water Dragon intellagama lesuerii lesuerii

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Azure hidden

Very strong and gusty wind today dislodged a butterfly from the treetops where it must have recently emerged from it pupae as the wings were not fully expanded. It was not able to fly but was happy to stay on a twig for photos as it waited.

The underside of the wings show beautiful earth colours that were almost iridescent in the sunlight. The upperwing colour is an iridescent deep purple, but I could not get a photo of the open wings.

There are quite a number of "Blues" and it was quite difficult to get the ID but I am fairly confident the it is a male Dark Purple Azure Ogyris abrata whose caterpillars feed on mistletoe species.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Flyscreen grid

A small moth was on the outside of the backdoor flyscreen in the middle of the day and stayed for a photo.

Finally tracked down the identification as Sandava xylistis of the Noctuidae family which has been found in the Eastern parts of Australia. Wingspan about 3mm. No information on the larvae food preferences.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Jezabels attracted to Fire Sprite

A warm spring day brought out many jezabel butterflies and our Grevillea Fire Sprite (cultivar) was providing a great source of nectar. Our most often sighted species is the Common Jezabel Delias nigrina but today we had quite a few Northern Jezabels getting into the action.

Female Northern Jezabel
Male Northern Jezabel
Male upper wings
The larvae of this Genus have mistletoe species as their main food source and we have many in the trees on the property to attract these butterflies.

The Northern Jezebel as their name suggests are more likely to be sighted in the north of Australia but they do range down as far as Sydney.

Common Jezebel female

Monday, 21 August 2017

From inside and out

A small pale moth was on the window last night, but a show of red colour along the leading edge of the wings hinted there was possibly more to be seen from the other side of the window.

I was not disappointed as the upper wing surfaces were well coloured and patterned, which made identification quite easy, Northern Emerald Prasinocyma rhodocosma, a species of the GEOMETROIDEA famly.

The moth has a wingspan of around 3cm and the larva feed on the new leaves of Eucalyptus and they range throughout Australia.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

A weather forecaster

Ages since I have posted anything, as I have been very busy, had computer problems and not seen any new and exciting species.
I haven't had the time to go searching, so I was relying on finding something of interest just by chance.
Last night we heard loud fluttering against the window and on investigation found a large moth (75mm) which settled on a cushion and allowed a couple of photos.

It was one I hadn't seen before although it appeared to be in the HEPIALIDAE moth family. 
On checking I found this to be correct, with the species being Trictena atripalpis, common names Rain Moth or Bardi Bardi Grub Moth.
These moths are renowned for arriving just before a rain event and often only on one Autumn night in the year with all appearing on the same night.(we did find another couple coming to the light). 
Another claim to fame is the fecundity of the females which hold the world record for the most eggs of a non-social insect, with one recorded with over 40000 eggs.
It is thought that the females lay the eggs whilst in flight allowing them to be scattered over a wide area and that the rain event helps to wash the eggs into cracks and hollows giving the emerging grubs a start on gaining access to their food source.
They are found across southern Australia and the wood boring larvae feed on the roots various native trees. 

Information source  Lepidoptera Butterflyhouse website