Readers’ wildlife photos

February 28, 2023 • 8:15 am

Tony Eales is back, having moved to a new clime. His notes and IDs are indented, and you can enlarge the photos by clicking on them.

It’s been a while. I moved jobs and cities from subtropical Brisbane to temperate Canberra, the Australian capital. Consequently, life has been very busy with fewer opportunities to photograph bugs but I can’t be stopped entirely. My new job looks like it will take me all over Australia so, with luck I will have a lot of different wildlife to show. So far here are some favourites from my new home.

This extraordinary weevil, Acantholophus sp., from the forested hill around Canberra.

A new Arkys for me, Arkys walckenaeri. These are the most common species across southern Australia but become rarer in the subtropics, hence I hadn’t seen one before. Always happy to get a new Arkys for my collection.

This beautiful katydid nymph, probably Caedicia sp. Also from the forests around Canberra.

Southern Australia has a bewildering variety of colourful jewel beetles in the genus Castiarina. This was my first in this new area and a real beauty, Castiarina hilaris.

It’s been wonderful for new beetles down here. This is one of the many pie-dish darkling beetlesCelibe sp.

Neosparassus calligaster Beautiful Badge Huntsman is the star of the show so far. I found it out on this twig at perfect camera height showing off its underside that gives it its name.

. . .  and this small horned treehopper that I haven’t quite nailed down the species of yet in the Tribe Terentiini. Charming little bug.

Another southern Australian species that I’ve been trying to find for a while, this pretty little orb-weaver is Araneus ginninderranus.

And this is what I’m most frightened of in this new bio-region: the bullants in the Myrmecia pilosula species complex. These are the only ants recorded to have killed anyone as far as I know. This one is the local Canberra species Myrmecia croslandi.

I found a lot of these mites from the Subfamily Callidosomatinae searching the eucalyptus leaves. This one was taking a special interest in Heteropteran eggs.

Another species I rarely encountered in my previous home but appears to be very common here is Uraba lugens Gum Leaf Skeletonizer. You can see them earning their name here.
They are also known as the “mad hatter caterpillar”. As they moult through their instars, the old skin and head doesn’t completley detach from their heads. As they get older, the hat of previous moults gets taller and taller.

13 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Fantastic photos! “Gum Leaf Skeletonizer” is a great name, like something out of a horror/fantasy novel.

    Btw…I read your comments with an Australian accent in mind, in part to honor your efforts but also because it adds something to the commentary about those magnifcent creatures. I don’t know why. Thanks

  2. These are absolutely captivating photos, thank you. The Arkys walckenaeri looks like a piece of jewelry made of gold and carnelian.

    1. It was photographs of this particular species that first got me hooked on the genus Arkys but it’s taken until now, many years later to finally see one in the flesh

  3. You have proven the abundance of very cool Australian arthropods. And also that you’re a damn good photographer. Thanks for this incredible selection.

  4. Fantastic photos Tony!

    I remember when a neighbor returned from a stint in Australia: The elder son (middle school age) had the most awesome collection of insects I’d ever seen. Massive examples. Most memorable were a huge cicada and a huge beetle.

  5. I suppose the dead person was drunk. It is one reason why people get killed by large predators in Africa & India…

    1. According to Wikipedia Myrmecia deaths are due to anaphyllaxis and occurred at a rate of about 4 a year in Australia but a desensitisation program has been successful and there has not been a fatality (as far as Wikipedia knows!) since 2003.

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