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#1366 to 1372

More mixed stuff, including spiders, under the cut.

#1366 - Nyssus coloripes -Orange-legged Swift Spider

AKA  Medmassa bicolor, Storena auripes, Aglena coloripes, Supunna picta, etc, etc etc. 

Photo by Merrilyn Farnham, Hahndorf South Australia.

Corinnids or Swift Spiders are found over much of Australia, and this species is one of the more common, but easily confused with the related Nyssus albopunctatus. Found in woodland, coastal scrub and inland arid areas.  Colour variations, including gold or yellow spots, depend on location and habitat. The sudden movement with trembling front legs, stopping and restarting in erratic directions across the ground, probably mimic spider wasps (Pompilidae) hunting spiders to provision their nest. . It sometimes enters houses, running swiftly up walls and windows. Females make a flat disk-like egg-sac on a flat surface.

#1367 - Rhinophthalmus sp - Skinny Longicorn

Photo by Kama Spoor, near Bundaberg QLD.

I’m not sure what they derived the name from, but the snout and eyes in this genus are both pretty prominent. Adults have been collected while feeding at Syzygium blossoms, and the larvae from Acacia and Niemeyera branches. Presumably the more slender branches that larger Longicorns can’t exploit.

#1368 -  Chalcophorotaenia sp. - Verdigrised Jewel Beetle

Photo by RJ Simon, near Chinchilla, QLD.

A genus of unusually coloured Buprestidae. Adults in the genus have been found on the foliage of various plants, but the only record of a host for the larvae is for Chalcophorotaenia quadriimpressa in Gastrolobium grandiflorum, the Wallflower Poison Bush. Going by the distribution map at the Atlas of Living Australia, they appear to prefer the hotter, drier parts of the country.

#1369 - Aenetus eximia - Forest Splendid Ghost Moth

AKA Charagia coreeba. Photo by Nikki McInerney, in Tecoma, Victoria.

Found in wet forests over most of Australia, with the caterpillars live in tunnels up to a metre in length that they dig down into the trunk and root of their food tree, which are known to include Australian SassafrasVictorian Christmas Bush,  Rose GumCheese Tree and Native Hop Bush.

This one is a female, and the hindwings are orange with green borders, and the abdomen is orange with a green tail. The moths have a wingspan of about 7 centimeters. Males in this species are blue-green, with a pale yellow line on the wings instead of two spots.

#1370 - Acalolepta aestheticus

AKA Dihammus aestheticusHaplohammus aestheticus, Monochamus aestheticus.

Photo by Kay Muddiman, who said :

It was on the outside of a flyscreen door this morning, but in such a spot that getting a clear close-up proved difficult. So I persuaded it to move onto a sheet of white paper - not that it co-operated by keeping still! It eventually got fed up with my attention and flew off! Something I noticed was that it kept ‘cleaning?’ its antennae with its front legs, also doing similar with the feet on its back legs (see video) - wondering if there is any significance to this. Body length was around 20 - 25mm. Location Crooked Corner on the boundary of the Southern & Central Tablelands of NSW, elevation 805m.

Native to the East Coast of Australia, but unfortunately accidentally introduced to Hawaii at some point before 2009. It’s become an increasingly alarming pest over there since then, with the large grubs boring into breadfruit trees, sago palm, Kukui, citrus, and Cacao. 

#1371 - Fam. Therevidae - Stiletto Flies

Hels Mon down here in the SW found something odd in their garden, and put a video up for ID. It was a video I was quite pleased to see, because I’ve never seen the predatory larvae of a Stiletto Fly before.

The larvae, like those in the Robber Fly and other related families, are predators of other insects and generally found on dry, sandy soils and dry litter. We certainly have no shortage of the former around here. Some of the 1600-odd decomposing organic matter or under the bark of trees. They’re voracious and agile, with a stiff, segmented exoskeleton, and will try to bury themselves rapidly if exposed to daylight.

Adults are generally seen in daylight, feeding on nectar, honeydew, and pollen, but they occasionally feed on plant or animal secretions. In semi-arid areas they’re most often found close to water, since prey will be more numerous for their young.

#1372 - Banksiamyces sp.

Found while I was collecting Banksia cones to turn into alien jungle terrain for Warhammer 40K.

Banksiamyces is a small genus of ascomycete fungus, with four species, that grows only the dead inflorescences of Banksia. They’re usually highly host-specific, but sometimes one cone will have more than one species growing on it - which begs the question of how the hell do they tell dead cones apart in the first place. The fruiting bodies are discoid, but fold up when conditions dry out.

Despite Western Australia’s diverse Banksia assemblage, the fungus does not seem to be common. Or, perhaps more likely, it’s just easily overlooked.

Banksiamyces was first collected and described as Tympanis toomansis in the 1880s, but 100 years later somebody had the time to take a second look at them, and put them in their own genus. For the time being they’re in the family  Helotiaceae.

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