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#1378 - Nausinoe pueritia

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

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

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

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.

#1382 - Hypolimnas bolina nerina - Blue Moon or Varied Eggfly

Photo by Shan-Leigh Tappin, in Atherton, Queensland. 

Native to SE Asia, Australia, and out to Vanuatu. The caterpillars have a wide diet, and hide during the day some distance from the food plant. Adult males are black with a pale oval mark surrounded by purple iridescence, while the females have variable markings in orange and white. As with many other insect species, male embryos are attacked by Wolbachia bacteria, but some populations are developing an immunity.

They’re one of the species bred at the Coffs Harbour Butterfly House (home of the intensely useful Australian Lepidoptera galleries) for release at weddings and other functions.

#1383 - Formosia (Euamphibolia) sp. - Bristle Fly

Photo by Anne Marie Mussner at Jenolan Caves in NSW. 

Tachinid flies in the Rutiliini tribe mostly target the larvae of scarab beetles, and this genus apparently specializes in the Flower Beetles of the Cetoniinae subfamily.

#1384 - Formosia (Euamphibolia) speciosa - Giant Black and White Bristle Fly

Photo by Ute Harder de Sohnrey in the Gold Coast hinterland, QLD. Same subgenus as the last one, but I’m more confident of the actual species in this case.

#1385 - Blackburnium rhinoceros - Dor Beetle

A Bolboceratid beetle spotted by Brad Callcott  in Ayr, a sugarcane town in tropical Queensland.

Bolboceratids used to be in the Geotrupid family (the Earth-boring Dung Beetles) by in more recent decades they’ve been recognised as more closely related to other scarab families. They tend towards the round, which is probably why so many Dor Beetle genera start with Bolbo-, including Bolbaffer, Bolboceratops, and Bolborhombus

This particular species, about 20mm long, seems to be quite widespread across Australia. Unfortunately I don’t know whether it’s a dung-feeder, or one of the species that eats generic humus as a larvae, and fungi as an adult. Any of my readers know?

#1386 - Lubra spinicornis

Sent to me from Witta, Queensland, by Larney Grenfell.

AKA Lubra regalis and Oxyrhachis spinicornis. A small Membracid treehopper with magnificent hood ornaments. Going by the map at ALA, an East Coast species, but I don’t have any information on preferred habitat or diet. The distribution suggests the wetter parts of our dry continent, at least.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 5th, 2019 06:51 pm (UTC)
They’re one of the species bred at the Coffs Harbour Butterfly House (home of the intensely useful Australian Lepidoptera galleries) for release at weddings and other functions.


May. 12th, 2019 05:55 am (UTC)
yes, releasing live butterflies at weddings is a thing you can do. It's how the Orchard Swallowtail got established in Western Australia. Growl. Because it's not native to the SW.
May. 6th, 2019 02:56 pm (UTC)
Those filaments ℅ the Australian Coconut Whitefly larvae are quite striking! I assume it's more the direct damage through eating that's the problem; that the filaments are harmless?

What an excellent example of camouflage in the Angular-winged Antlion! Quite nifty - easy to see how effective that'd be.
May. 12th, 2019 05:56 am (UTC)
yes, the wax filaments are harmless - it's the sap feeding that's the problem.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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