Readers’ wildlife photos

May 29, 2020 • 7:45 am

Tony Eales from Brisbane has sent us a collection of mixed arthropod photos. His notes are indented:

I just thought I’d throw together some oddballs for fun.

First, a tiny little mite known as a whirly-gig mite family Anystidae. These guys are so small and fast that I rarely attempt to photograph them even if I see one. However this one stopped for half a second and I just managed to get the focus.

Next, a particularly pretty planarian worm called Australopacifica regina, found in the local subtropical rainforest under a log.

This is one of the cup moth or slug moth caterpillars. Calcarifera ordinata. The stings are said to be particularly fierce. Happily so far I remain un-stung, touch wood (actually don’t touch anything in the bush, it probably stings or bites, just take photos).

Next a few spiders. First, an undescribed member of the genus Celaenia. This genus generally imitate bird droppings though this one not so much. Still, it l doesn’t look very appetising.

Second an ant-mimicking jumping spider. Not as convincinga  close-up as the more well-known Myrmarachne species, but from above at a glance, it’s still very ant-like. This one is genus Ligonipes sp: .‘white brows’. A very common but as yet undescribed species.

The last spider is an Oonopid aka goblin spider. Maybe, genus Grymeus. I’ll know more later as there’s a person at the Qld Museum currently working on the family and I’m sending the specimen in to go into the collection. For fun I’ve added a picture of the spider in the test tube. See if you can spot it.

I picked up something fairly rare the other day, a species of lace bug, Tingidae. To me it looked like the fairly common pest known as the Azalea Lace Bug Stephanitis pyrioides but the experts said “Oh no, The shape of the hemelytron is distinctly different. This is an Australian endemic, Lepturga magnifica. In any case, it’s an interesting looking bug.

Weevils are so diverse and there are some extreme variations on the weevil bauplan. This is one of the odder ones Rhadinosomus lacordaireei or Thin Strawberry Weevil.

Last but not least, a weird offshoot of in the lacewing Order Neuroptera, a Beaded Lacewing in the family Berothidae. These are unusual within the Neuropterans for having particularly hairy wings. The one pictured is  Stenobiella sp. The larvae of these lacewings live in termite mounds, apparently unmolested, snacking on a passing termite when hungry. Wired did an article on how the larvae have been observed to paralyse the hapless termite with termite-stunning farts


14 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Great pictures, Tony! An exceptionally wide ranging variety. The Celaenia spider looks to be a kind of bolas spider, which has an interesting way of catching prey.

    1. places Bolas Spiders together with Celaenia in a group called Mastophorinae. But iNaturalist places Bolas Spiders in a group called Cyrtarachninae which does not include Celaenia so…I dunno, they seem pretty similar to me too 🙂

      1. As you likely know, bolas spiders use a sex pheromone (or a suppose a mimic of one) to attract male moths, so love-lorn male moths are most of their prey. You can see the very suspicious looking scales on this one.

  2. You have some great arthropods there in Australia, and it is always a pleasure to look at your pictures and expand our concepts about the range of variation in some of these groups.

    The lacebug photo seems to have been left out?

  3. The flatworm is stunning, looks like some agate – such vividly colored forms are usually seen in the sea, not so much in terrestrial biotopes.

  4. These are gorgeous photos and I have great respect for the time and expertise each of them took. My absolute favorite is the whirly-gig mite, just an awesome little critter!

  5. Some excellent bug-gery there. I grew up on Oz but never saw such spectacular wildlife. Maybe I wasn’t looking, maybe b/c I was in Melbourne? QLD just has better stuff all around.
    Thx for the pictures – excellent.
    D.A., NYC

    1. I’ve found some pretty cools stuff around Melbourne. A lot of these things are really tiny and hide under bark and leaves. We share the world with some extraordinary things.

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