July 3rd, 2019

aye aye captain

#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.

aye aye captain

#1390-1399 - Moffs (and a Butterfly and a Giant Mosquito)

#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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aye aye captain

#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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