Readers’ wildlife photos

November 8, 2022 • 8:00 am

We’re back with a selection of photos from Tony Eales from Queeensland. Tony’s notes are indented and you can (and should) enlarge his photos by clicking on them.

I had to go to the Burnett River region for work and spent the nights investigating the habitat known, rather oxymoronically, as ‘dry rainforest‘. It’s a highly diverse forest type that once covered a lot of coastal and subcoastal subtropical Queensland. These days, apart from creek lines and rocky hills and gorges, most has been cleared and fragmented for livestock and agriculture, particularly on the rich red basaltic soils of the South Burnett.

One conservation park I visited was no more than 400m by 200m, but represented probably the only remnant patch on flat red soil in the region. Despite this the diversity was pleasing.

The best find was a newly emerged pie-dish darkling beetle Cillibus ovalis.

 I went through the records on Atlas of Living Australia and the last recorded sighting of this beetle was 1953 and before that 1870. I suspect it is adapted to the particular soil and habitat that has mostly been lost through agriculture.

It was here that I also found my first Four-barred Swordtail butterfly, (Protographium leosthenes ssp. leosthenes). With my camera setup I can photograph butterflies only when they’re asleep. They’re too fast and nervous in the day.

I also went to the nearby Boat Mountain Conservation Park. This is a larger reserve with more habitat types, but is a rocky hill with none of the rich red soil habitat. The dry rainforest here is dominated by the prickly Capparis sarmentosa known as Scrambling Caper. It was the perfect time of year for flowers.

And many branches contained numbers of sleeping Caper White butterflies (Belenois java) and I found their eggs on one spent flower bract.

I also photographed my first native passion flower (Passiflora aurantia ssp. aurantia). I find many introduced species so this one was pleasing to see. Its leaves also held the eggs of the Glasswing butterfly Acraea andromacha.

Newly moulted adult beetles were emerging here too—like this large wattle-boring longicorn Xystrocera virescens.

And I found a species I’d been wanting to photograph for a long time: the green-bellied huntsman, Typostola barbata.

15 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Fabulous photos!

    I regret* following our host’s suggestion to enlarge the photos; that beetle’s face is the stuff of nightmares.

    *not really…but holy smokes that face is creepy

  2. The green-bellied huntsman, Typostola barbata photo looks like a Van Gogh painting! Love all of these, thank you.

  3. Incredible photos! The butterfly eggs to the green-bellied huntsman are delightful.
    My favorite is the Scrambling Caper.
    Thank you!

  4. Congrats on the rare darkling beetle find. That had to feel wonderful to see it turn out nicely.

    You could win an award with that caper egg photo. The orange against the green with the dark background is a stunning shot.

  5. The beetle is a fabulous find – only the third sighting in over 150 years! I hope that the little patch of forest is well protected.
    As usual a set of wonderful and fascinating photos Tony!

  6. Always a treat! For butterflies (and dragonflies), get thee to a long-ish lens. Like a 100-300mm or -400mm zoom lens. An old one will do nicely.

  7. Terrific shots, Tony. That pie-dish beetle is something else- looks like it’s rusted metal. The huntsman with the swirly bright yellow and brown background (bark, I assume) is stupendous.

  8. Beautiful photos! There is also a small creature in the left side notch of the passion flower with the butterfly eggs.

  9. Excellent night shots! The nighttime world is fascinating with its own set of unique characters out and about. I really like those butterfly eggs and the longhorn beetle portrait. Well done!

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