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#1400 and counting

#1400 - Eacles imperialis - Imperial Moth
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Photo by a friend of mine, Bruce Griffin, in Warrensburg, Missouri. It’s not often I can ID a species from overseas, but a Saturniid this distinctive wasn’t TOO difficult. The colour and pattern is a surpisingly good match for a decomposing leaf

The diet of the caterpillars is unusually wide, including conifers like Norway Spruce, and deciduous trees and shrubs including oak, box elder, maples, sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua), and sassafras. The pini subspecies feeds only on conifers, and the adults don’t feed at all.

Various subspecies are found from Argentina to Canada, and unsurprisingly it’s E. imperialis pini that’s found up at the northern end.



#1401 - Myrmecia ludlowi
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One of the species that I posted to BowerBird for an ID, although Colin went on to get his own account there. Hopefully he’ll get his own observations ported to iNaturalist, since he’s a much better photographer than me. 

Myrmecia chasei and Myrmecia ludlowi have the same coloration as Myrmecia elegans, but are more robust ants with hairy tibiae. The separation of the two species by is based purely on the colour of the mandibles (yellow in chasei, dark brown in ludlowi), but many specimens having intermediate light to medium brown mandibles. Both species (if indeed they are separable species) are found in the Darling Range, including the Perth area, and elsewhere in SW Western Australia. Colin took this photo way down in the SW. 



#1402 - Myrmecia urens
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Another bull-ant, but one of the smaller species. This time photographed by me, in Yellingup, down in the SW corner. Found in large parts of Southern Australia. The short-lived winged males are duped into pollinating the flowers of the Hare Orchid Leporella fimbriata, and may visit and try to mate with dozens of flowers until eventually dying of exhaustion.



#1403 - Physeema sp - Western Ticker
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One of the smaller cicadas we get in WA, with five species and outlying populations further north and over in coastal Victoria and South Australia. I found this one tangled in spiderweb, let him or her climb over my fingers while I got some photos, and the little fucker bit me. Which was quite surprising coming from an exclusively plant-sucking family. 



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#1390 - Psilogramma casuarinae or menephron - Privet Hawk Moth
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Found by Susie Wade on a hedge in Dubbo, NSW. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to tell P. casuarinae and P. menephron apart by photos, especially at this stage. And even more so because they both enjoy a diet of Privet and White Jasmine, although the former is also a pest of olives and a wide variety of other domesticated plants. I’ve covered the former, way back at #527.



#1391 - Thalaina angulosa - Blotched Satin Moth
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From Naomi Gillespie, in Rushworth, Victoria.

A striking Geometrid moth, found over large areas of Mainand Australia, where the caterpillars feast on Golden Wattle, White Mallee ( Eucalyptus dumosa) and Velvet Bean ( Cassia tomentella, CAESALPINIACEAE ). Probably other plants too.


#1392 - Thalaina tetraclada
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Another Satin Moth, this one photographed by Zara Brown in Coondle WA. Bit blurry, but seeing the hindwings makes the species ID certain. Found in New South Wales, South Australia, and Western Australia, but I don’t have an info on diet. 



#1393 - Metallochlora neomela
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AKA Urolitha bipunctifera (Walker, 1861), Nemoria pisina Warren, 1899 and Thalassodes albolineata Pagenstecher, 1900

Photo by Karl Granzien, in Cooroy, SE QLD. 

The Australian Butterfly House website says the caterpillar has been reared fromPlumbago auriculata, and the moth has been found in most Australian states, and in Papua. But that Plumbago is a South African species, so in the wild it probably eats Plumbago zeylanica, a native plant found in most of the warmer, wetter parts of Australia, assuming it doesn’t have a wider diet. 



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#1387-1389 - Some More

#1387 - Trichophthalma sp. - Tangle-veined Fly
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Photographed by Kate Fin, 1500m up Mt Buffalo in Victoria.

Tangle-veined Flies, named after the unusual wing venation visible in the second photo, are parasitoids of grasshoppers and beetles as larvae. Although I don’t think they’re going to get much of a meal off the grasshopper in the third photo. As adults, they’re pollinators, and are suitable equipped - Moegistorhynchus longirostris, from parts of South Africa, has a proboscis 80-100mm long, the longest of any fly.

There’s only 300 or so known species, but some are important controllers of grasshopper numbers.



#1388 - Hydroclathrus clathratus
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A brown algae with a highly unusual fractal net-like morphology. IDed by Carolyn Ricci at the SA Herbarium, who do an outstanding range of PDFs I’ve found invaluable for identifying Australian macroalgae. 

Found in warm and temperate seas worldwide, but this was the first time I’ve ever seen anything like it. The name means ‘latticed water-lattice’, to really hammer the point home. It’s often found growing epiphytically on another common brown algae, the blob-like Colpomenia sinuosa, which it rather resembles apart from all the holes. (Speaking of which, I hope this doesn’t trigger anybody’s tryptophobia - I made the mistake of showing this photo to a friend who was once extremely ill with a high fever, and was hallucinating patterns like this.)

Brought in to the WA Naturalist’s Club meeting by one of the members, to compliment the talk on Marine Plants I was giving. Naturally I covered all the species I’ve discussed on Tumblr previously. 

Apparently it’s edible, and makes an interesting addition to salads.



#1389 - Everardia picta
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Identified for and photographed by Lesley Brooker, here in Perth, based on the resemblance to the more common Ocirrhoe genus of small green stink bugs.

As well as the major gangs in Edge City, there’s a wide selection of smaller ones, with various lines of income and gang beliefs. At least one of them is a gang of religious fundamentalists, that we promptly nickname the Piss-stains after the colour-code of the gang map, right next door to the Knights of Hell.

Hero Shrew: Can we put them both into an arena and go “Fight! Fight! Fight!”
Fireflash: No. Probably.

And, of course, there’s one gang with the sworn intention of wiping out Moreaus.

Fireflash: I think we’ve found our next target.

And of course, Allana can glide silently overhead for nocturnal surveillance on whoever we target.

Fireflash: We’ve got Whispering Death right here.

Flux: Allana, do you need a cover story in case they chat social media for what you’re up to? A night on the town, or something?
GM: She’s too busy for anything like that - her superheroics at night are her relaxation time.
Hero Shrew: She patches people up during the day, and inflicts serious injuries at night.

We go after the Knights of Hell instead - their business in drug exports makes them vulnerable.

Hero Shrew: And there will be fewer social ramifications if we take them down, instead of the Piss-stains or the racists. Who’s going to complain if we target a gang of Satanist drug-dealers?
GM: They’re only called the Knights of Hell because the Hellgate Institute is on their turf, and everybody knows it.

They’re also pretty anti-Moreau, since the mass break-out on S-Day happened in their neighbourhood, and they’ve always been paranoid about other things buried under Edge City. And they’re not wrong either - there was that recent Kaiju for one thing.

Of course we’ll have to consult with the Edge City PD drug squad first. And there’s also the legal consequences of acting on info gained by Flux hacking into their security systems, or using a magical machine that goes Ping in the presence of illegal drugs. Both could lead to the case being thrown out, if we find anything that we couldn’t have learned from normal means. X-ray vision automatically counting as illegal search is just the start of it.

GM: I still remember the time Wonder Woman had a mid-air collision with another plane.
Hero Shrew: And that’s why she should have stuck to the giant space kangaroos.
Flux: Yes, those were practical.

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According to the Golarion map, Magnimar is in the same geographic location as Seattle.

GM: So our Streets of Magnimar campaign was Shadowrun all along.
Weldun: Yes, I know - that’s why I ran it there.

Anyway, The Mummy’s Mask, in which our party of wannabe law robots, half-orc spell mechanics, swordswomen cosplaying as cloves of garlic, and lovesick gnolls, head off into the wilderness to locate the tomb of a long dead architect. Let’s hope he didn’t keep the best traps for his OWN tomb.

At least we don’t need as many supplies as most such expeditions would need - Two of us can Create Water, Asrian can cast Tiny Hut for shelter, and Nemat has a Ring of Sustenance. Throw in the Cauldron of Brewing, and Marching Coffee, collapsible bathtubs, and a few Bags of Holding stuffed with rations and Wandermeals, and we should be fine.

Zenobia OoC: And how many kilos of Bolivian Marching Powder?

Automated Cartographers will be pretty useful too.n We don’t take any camels, or other beasts of burden.

Nemat: Camels get eaten. Camels get turned to stone. I’m not going out there to feed the local wildlife.

Although that does mean we don’t get to visit Crazy Hassan, or Honest Achmed’s Used Camel Emporium.

Adventurer: We need oceangoing camels.
Crazy Hassan: I have just the thing, master.
Adventurer: … That’s four camels in a boat.
Crazy Hassan: Ah, I see where I have misunderstood you sir. You meant aquatic camels. These ones merely know how to handle the rigging.
Adventurer: … How?? They don’t even have thumbs!
Crazy Hassan: *shrugs* It is a mystery.

Before we leave town, we go to see the Pharaoh's concubine Muminofrah one last time. Zenobia is a bit uncertain about this - she’s still a bit hurt about the woman’s interest in her girlfriend.

Zenobia: Why are we doing this, instead of just skipping town?
Nemat: She’s been useful. And we shouldn’t burn bridges.
GM: It doesn’t matter - her guards won’t even let you on the barge. You can see her on the deck, in the arms of a dark-skinning man, giggling as she’s fed grapes.
Asrian: Ah. She has a newbie.
Zenobia: Well, I’m relieved. Are we going to misinform the Governor about where we’re going?
Nemat: No. We’re not going to tell her anything.

As it happens we’re attacked almost as soon as we’re out of sight of town. It’s Pharaoh-cultists. And there’s a sphinx padding along behind them.

Zenobia: Two questions - will Saranae be disappointed with me because I didn’t give them a warning first?
Nemat: No. She doesn’t expect you to put yourself in undue danger.
Zenobia: That’s good. And the other question - why do these dumb-asses always try to close to close combat?

Onka adds a Disruption effect to his fireball, which nicely wrecks any attempt by the nearer cultists to cast magic, or keep any running. The fancy-pants leading them holds back, and is clearly trying to cast something, which naturally makes him a priority target. Pretty soon it’s just the cultists who are still alive, and entangled.

Zenobia: *gesturing significantly with her scimitar* Which of you would like to live?

They’d rather explode than surrender.

Asrian: Well, that was kind of pointless.

There’s a caravan at the first oasis we get to, which reacts with understandable alarm at the party’s approach, until they realise it’s not all gnolls, and lower their weapons a bit. Apparently they’ve had to fight off multiple gnoll packs as they crossed the desert. Nemat introduces us.

Caravaneer: You’re from Wati? I heard rumours of a terrible necromantic event.
Nemat: Don’t worry - we dealt with it.
Caravaneer: You must be great heroes!
Asrian: Not great. But still pretty good.

Asrian does a sword dance to entertain our hosts that evening.

Zenobia OoC: I hope nobody comments about the cushion I have to hold over my lap. Asrian’s sword skills are the sexiest thing about her.

Caravaneer: That is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.
Nemat: Indeed. But she’s taken. Not by me, though!
Caravaneer: I meant the dance.
Zenobia: *panting*

He warns us about the salt flats to the south - they’re teeming with Basilisks.

Zenobia: Maybe we SHOULD have bought those smoked goggles.

Caravaneer: There’s also an enormous bird - of prodigious size! - in the western wasteland. Big enough to snatch up a camel in both claws!
Nemat: There’s a reason the desert hasn’t been mapped yet.

They also have a bunch of trade goods worth looking through, although the gnoll skulls and grave goods do make Zenobia frown, and Nemat give them a warning about the Cult of Pharasma.

Caravaneer: And the rarest of rare creatures! The single-headed hydra!
Nemat: So it’s a snake.
Caravaneer: …
Nemat: Shall I tell you about my home town? The only building of note if the temple of Wadjet. To whom snakes are sacred.
Caravaneer: Half-price?
Peanut gallery: Can I interest you guys in cursed filament?
Onka’s player: You lost me at ‘cursed’

Zenobia OoC: How did the session I missed go?
Asrian: Quite well. We had to go through a chariot race for Muminofrah, but that got us permission to enter the Dark Depository, where we found the information we were searching for. Unfortunately, we've also found out that more info is available at a different and hidden section, the location of which can only be discerned by watching from the top of a particular tower at dawn at midsummer. Sadly, said tower no longer exists. However, we figure we can get the location from the city model we saw earlier. We then had to fight a Bone Golem, which was a complete comedy of errors but we got out in one piece.
Onka OoC: We miss our good luck gnoll
Zenobia OoC: Aw, shucks. So… you kept sending me off on shopping trips whenever you needed to get another ‘favour’ from Muminofrah?
Nemat: Yes.
Zenobia: *plaintive sigh*
Nemat: Oh look, there’s some bottled musk for sale in the markets.
Onka: What?
Nemat: To help Zenobia regain her girlfriend.

Onka and Asrian were assigned to the camel-chariot, since Zenobia was being kept preoccupied, and Nemat is at a penalty for anything that doesn’t involve books.

Nemat: Do you know how embarrassing it is to be a follower of Wadjet and be bad at Handling Animals? We’re a snake cult!
Zenobia: To be fair that’s a very specific animal.

Suddenly, Ninjas!

Onka: Let’s hope there are lots of them.

Nemat: Blistering Invective! ‘You suck at being Ninjas! You surprised someone, stabbed them in the back, and MISSED!’

GM: Why do I keep sending these poor goons after you?
Zenobia: Because we’re not well-known enough in this town, yet. If somebody sent assassins after us in Wati, they’d be demanding danger money.
GM: True. And they’d be sniping you from a distance.

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Some quotes I've forgotten the context of, since it's been almost two months since our last session.

Flux OoC: This was a good session - and Fireflash didn't end up naked!

GM: That was the most Keystone Kops fight I've ever gamesmastered, and I used to GM Toon.

GM: Ah yes, Spiderman 3 - the one with the Rule 63 K.D.Lang.

The five members of Quadrant have decided to get a bit more proactive, regarding the gang situation in Edge City. A good excuse for Weldun to play more of the soundtrack he put together for the Edge City Gangs. The first target is going to be Humanity First, largely because they tried to send power-armoured terrorists into The Zoo, and also because they somehow managed to acquire a giant robot. Who is diverting resources to them?

Of course, the designer drug problem in Marsden is pretty bad too - each gang with their own specialty. The Voodoo Crew, for example, sell Super-C, cocaine cut with ground bone. Oddly enough it seems to be much safer than the original.

Hero Shrew: How much do you want to bet that half these drugs are the same thing, with different food colouring?

Apparently not - the drugs are all very different, with some potent effects. Edge City’s biotech industry has been inventing some pretty alarming stuff. Our GM certainly did his research on these drugs, including prices.

GM: This is the research I do. I am now for certain on yet another ****ing watchlist.

GM: The whole King of the Hill game in the Booster gang leadership now has a Queen. Nobody knows where she came from but she’s following Dysprosium Dawn’s line, so…. I’m resisting calling her Mecha-Shiva.
Fireflash: Mecha-Kali.

GM: Becoming a superhero might have ruined Fireflash’s sex life, but…
Hero Shrew: I’m sure Bad Dragon could do something special for her.
Fireflash: *facepalm*
GM: Actually, Flux knows that Guiltrider does a line in super-science sex toys.
Hardlight: … Why is she a villain again?
GM: She did call the four of you Poser, Try-hard, and Token, but couldn’t think of a good name for Fireflash.
Allana: I found her perfectly pleasant.
GM: Well, you’ll have something to tell Fireflash, assuming the conversation ever happens.
Flux: WHICH IT WON’T. EVER.

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#1378 - Nausinoe pueritia
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Photo from Luna’s Insect Challenge - Luna and her mum live in Umina Beach, New South Wales, and she intends to upload a different insect every day for the year. Nice to see the youngsters exercising their interest in natural history.

Anyway, this moth, also known as  Phalaena pueritia, is a Spilomeline Crambid native to SE Asia and Australia’s northern and eastern states. The caterpillars roll up the leaf of whatever foodplant they’re eating, but the only foodplant I have information on is Chinese Bellflower ( Abutilon spp., in the Hibiscus family ).



#1379 - Aleurodicus destructor - Australian Coconut Whitefly
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Another from Luna’s Facebook project.  

Also known as Aleurodes albofloccosa. The white filaments are made of wax, secreted by the nymph.

Despite the common name, this insect has a wide diet, which makes it an even bigger potential pest if introduced to other parts of the world. It’s been found on Acacia (wattles), Annona squamosa (sugar apple), Cinnamomum, Coconut, Indian laurel, star gooseberry and black pepper) among others. It’s already found in SE Asia and parts of the Pacific, but it was probably already native.



#1380 - Psychopsis mimica - Silky Lacewing
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Photo by Christian Bom, and found hiding under a leaf in the Carnarvon Gorge area, Central Highlands, Queensland.

Silky Lacewings are a small family of predatory insects, with broad hairy wings, with vivid patterns. It’s not clear which lacewing family they’re most closely related to, but the fossil evidence shows they were more diverse back in the Triassic (250mya to 200mya) then they are today. 

All the Australian species are in the genus Psychopsis, but these don’t seem to be one of the more common species - or at least I can’t find any photos of one that matches this pair.

EDIT: Ken Walker at Museums Victoria got in contact with one of the world experts on lacewings, who believes it to be Psychopsis mimica, which can be quite variable in markings.



#1381 - Periclystus circuiter - Angular-winged Antlion
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Photo by Clyde Odonnell, in Bright, Victoria.

A large and very striking antlion species, found in the Eastern states. When in it’s usual daytime resting posture, hanging down from a twig, it resembles a tangle of spiderweb and debris. Clumsy fliers, rarely more than a meter off the ground.



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Getting Scooter to explain anything can be an exercise in confusion, due to his habit of fixating on what elements are interesting to him, and a tendency to add whatever flights of fancy he had, when his mind started to wander mid-conversation.

GM: So, who wants to recap?
Hero Shrew: Apparently there’s a Seal-Moreau who’s interested in me.

Game temporarily halted to assist Damselfly in distress.

Allana has ensured that the Marine-Moreau community has an alarm beacon in case Genesys finds them. But she still doesn’t tell the rest of us about them. Perhaps we just have to wait until they kidnap Invisible Girl.

Flux: ‘We have Invisible Girl!’
Fireflash: How can you tell?

Hardlight OoC: So, what do we do now? Wait for the Bat-signal to go off?
Flux OoC: What Bat-signal?
Hero Shrew OoC: *points at Allana*
Flux OoC: Oh, right. I guess it really is a Bat-Signal. Huh.
Hardlight: I suppose I could ask the ECPD to install a searchlight…
Fireflash: No, a Bat-signal is a terribly inefficient message system. I HAVE a phone.
Hero Shrew: Plus this isn’t Gotham, it’s California, so we don’t have permanent overcast.

GM: I was trying to come up for a villain for you this week. Maybe a Matrioshka Brain.
Hero Shrew OoC: I don’t think we’re ready for Cosmic-Level threats yet.
Fireflash OoC: I’m sorry, but anything that registers on the Kardashev Scale is Too Much.

Crusher Joe has arrived in town, as part of the mentor system in place for newer superheroes.

Hero Shrew: Oh RIGHT, he’s mentoring me, not the other way around.
GM: Yes, this was made very very clear to you.

He has overalls for Scooter to wear.

Crusher Joe: And this a hard hat. Because of regulations.

Crusher Joe: I’ve always found it a good idea to get a superstrong hero to patch a wall or two. After you’ve fixed a few, you think twice before punching someone through one.
Hero Shrew: How long have you been patching walls for?
Crusher Joe: About 20 years.
Hero Shrew: Were things different back then? Did you have a Bat-signal?

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Wrath and Glory - Demo Game

Playing one of the Wrath and Glory 40K RPG demo games. Spoilers ahead

Sister Abigail Casserina - Sister-Hospitaller
Brother Andar - Imperial Fists Space Marine
Brother Zeriel Balor - Blood Angel Space Marine
Adept Rotus Ilus - Tech-priest
An Moet-Chandon - Inquisitorial Acolyte


Introducing the characters

GM: I’ll start with somebody who still technically human.

Brother Zeriel: I was told I needed more practise interacting with humans.
An Moet-Chandon OoC: And the Imperial Fist is sitting in the other corner of the Chapterhouse building pillow forts.

Going to a hospital to collect a team-member, injured in a previous mission. And, of course, keeping our eyes open for any signs of heresy, thoughtcrime, or impiety. Suddenly, Zombies! In hospital smocks.

An Moet-Chandon: Backsliders!

Not long after, we’re putting the last zombies down, as well as any civilians that managed to get themselves bitten. No doubt their faith was insufficient.

An Moet-Chandon: May the Emperor forgive your failings, for I cannot! *BLAM*

Adept Ilus locks the building down and starts looking through the pict-records for anybody that may have snuck out the side exits, and where the poxwalkers originated. Brother Andar heads down to supervise the the purging of the Mortuary when we find out. Moet-Chandon orders the hospital security to assemble everybody in the foyer for questioning.

Brother Zerial Balor: It’s not difficult - gather them here, or we burn the hospital to the ground. This hospital is clearly tainted.

Brother Zerial Balor: Given I’m going room to room…
Expectant Parents: What shall we name our child?
Zerial: *Kicks in door, waves chainsaw* No daemons? Right, everybody to the foyer.
Expectant Parents: *gawps* How about Dante? Or Sanguinius?
Tech-Adept Ilus: How about ‘Induced Labour?’

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