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May 5th, 2019

#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.

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