Readers’ wildlife photos

Reader Tony Eales from Australia is back with another batch of lovely insect photos. His captions are indented.

A quick tank top up:

First up two odd looking species of Leaf Beetle (family Chrysomelidae). Eurispa vittata (gahnia leaf beetle) and Hispellinus multispinosus (Spiny leaf beetle). Both seen to like grasses/sedges.


Next is a Shore Fly (family Ephydridae) Ochthera sp. These small flies are predators on midges and mosquitos as well as other small flying insects. I watched this one on the side of my pool while I was lounging about in the water and decided to risk getting the good camera gear. They do a lot of gesticulating with their raptorial forelegs. It’s cute and mesmerising. I’ve attached a video [JAC: I put it on YouTube.]


Next I think are hatching sawfly larvae, but they might be leaf beetle larvae. I’m not certain.

Next is a newly hatched False Garden Mantis, Pseudomantis albofimbriata

There’ve been quite a few Owlflies (subfamily Ascalaphinae) around lately, they are in the same order as lacewings, antlions and mantis-flies. This one is in the genus Suhpalacsa

Lastly a Blue Tiger/Blue Wanderer, Tirumala hamata hamata. In some years they do mass migrations and you see them flying through the city. There was one such migration a few years back and I counted these flying past my office window in the city centre at the rate of one every 25 seconds for about a week.



  1. Terry Sheldon
    Posted February 11, 2020 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    My compliments and thanks for a lovely set of photos. As a layman reader of this site, I am always surprised and delighted by posts from you, Mark Sturtevant and others who open my eyes to the amazing and beautiful variety of arthropods in this world.

  2. GregZ
    Posted February 11, 2020 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    I think the hatching larvae have multiple ocelli on each side of the head, which would eliminate them as sawflies.

  3. Posted February 11, 2020 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Very interesting!
    I am especially intrigued with the Ephydrids. Clearly convergent evolution on praying mantis and mantidflies.
    When I was in grad school, majoring in Entomology, there was another grad student who was doing research on Ephydrids. He was showing that there are species that do gestures like this to flash UV-reflective markings to their fellow flies. I don’t know if it was one of these predatory species.

    I think the hatching larvae are beetle larvae from the family Chrysomelidae. They look like that, anyway.

    • tjeales
      Posted February 11, 2020 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, I’m more and more coming the view that they leaf beetle larvae myself. These little predatory shore flies are fascinating and quite beautiful. There seems to be no work done on the Australian species that I can find. There are only two species listed in the Atlas of Living Australia and I’m fairly sure I’ve photographed two different species but I suspect there’s a lot of unrecorded diversity out there.

    • tjeales
      Posted February 11, 2020 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      When I was reading around I do believe that it was this Ochthera genus that had the UV reflective displays

  4. rickflick
    Posted February 11, 2020 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    I can imagine being one centimeter tall and walking among these amazing creatures. The only reason they aren’t as widely appreciated as penguins and bald eagles is that they are very small. Pump them up to human scale and we’d have to worship them as gods. 😎

  5. Dominic
    Posted February 11, 2020 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    They are really nice – the owl fly in particular!

  6. Mark R.
    Posted February 11, 2020 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Very nice and all new to me. The owl fly and false garden mantis are really cool. I’ve learned from RWP that Australia has a wide variety of remarkable arthropods.

  7. Jenny Haniver
    Posted February 11, 2020 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    These are cool insects. Always something new with insects and their kin. Wonder what the shore fly is doing in the video? Too bad I can’t ask directly.

  8. Charles Sawicki
    Posted February 11, 2020 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    Nice Owlfly (well named).

  9. Posted February 12, 2020 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    Very cool critters you’ve got down under. Lots of beautiful species to look at while the other half of the species are trying to inject deadly poisons into you. 😉

  10. Posted February 12, 2020 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    To think that we are a relative of these wonderfully alien creatures!

    Happy Darwin Day! (Wearing my Darwin-embraces-a-chimp t-shirt.)

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