|Dolerus on Mayday from 2007|
Sunday, April 29, 2012
Saturday, April 14, 2012
|Cortusa matthioli var. sachalinensis - Alpine Bells|
|Alpine Bells - delicate and delightful|
|Alpine Bells in a mixed native-alien shade bed|
|Leaves of Alpine Bells|
|Ornamental onion Allium oreophyllum|
Sunday, April 8, 2012
|Redback 1, Skink 0|
|Redback in tagled web|
Up to 400 Redback bites are reported annually in Australia, but very few deaths have been recorded. My yard in Brisbane had a good population of Redbacks, but the closest I came to being bitten was while moving some large flower pots. My finger under the pot rim was right in a Redback's face, but she fled rather than bite, perhaps because I screamed and dropped the pot.
If you live in an area with good populations of Redbacks or other Widows, it is a good idea to be cautious when using outdoor furniture or facilities. Checking under a lawn chair and removing web and spider with a stick can help prevent unfortunate juxtapositions of soft skin and spider fangs. This is especially true when using a dunny (not the mutant Easter rabbit toy, but an 'outhouse'). Checking under the seat may seem a bit obsessive, but is preferable to being bitten in a sensitive spot: such bites used to be a high proportion of those reported. This year in New South Wales spider bites of all kinds (314) resulted in more calls to paramedics than any other category (twice as many as dog bites), but lost out in the headline of the linked article to 'ants, bees, snakes, and one ferocious rabbit'. I suppose that is a fitting end to an Easter post.
Saturday, April 7, 2012
|Mystery male fly on coltsfoot 22 April 2010|
|Being covered in pollen is a good indication of a potential pollinator|
Thursday, April 5, 2012
|Spring in the Home Bug Garden - 5 April 2012|
|Sulphur-crested Cockatoo - Qld version of snow|
|False Blister Beetle - Lamington National Park|
|Food and defence: chrysomelid larvae bums outward on gum leaf|
|Chrysomelid grub on willow (probably Chrysomela sp.)|
|Grevillea coccinna, King's Park, WA|
*Mawdsley, J. R. 1992. A new example of mimicry in Coleoptera from Australia. Young Entomologists' Society Quarterly 9(3):21-24.
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
|Male Meadow Rue|
|Creeping or Shore Buttercup Ranunculus cymbalaria|
Wikipedia has Thalia as named after Johannes Thal, a German Botanist. But Peter Bernhart in his entertaining Gods and Goddesses in the Garden, considers Thalia as a bit of Linnaean fun, honouring both Thal and yet another Greek Thalia (Θαλία): the Grace of festivities and luxuriant banquets. Given the abundance of flowers and the rather greyish foliage characteristic of Meadow Rues, I think I'll go with the Muse.
Sunday, April 1, 2012
|Autumn turns a Green Lacewing brown|
|Inquisitive Ash Leaf Cone Roller antennae out|
|Unobtrusive Cone Roller with antennae retracted|
Although these tiny moths have an interesting stance and pleasant pattern, no one really likes them. They make the ash trees look a bit ratty, but apparently don't hurt them much. But their tiny green caterpillars dangle from the street trees by silken threads and get in one's face, hair, and clothing.
|Cluster Fly in the outdoor sun, where it belongs|
Cluster flies (Calliphoridae: Pollenia spp.) are another insect that people tend not to like, but because of the adults, not the larvae. Their maggots are parasites of earthworms, so gardeners might have two minds about them, but the adult flies have the annoying habit of entering homes in the autumn and clustering on sunny windows. This can drive even entomologists up the wall. Fortunately, the species in Edmonton do not seem to indulge in the home invasion behaviour.
|Meniscus Midge Dixella sp.|
On the delicate and delightful side of the Diptera were the Dixidae. The adults of the Meniscus Midge that lives in our pond overwinter as adults and emerge well before the pond has thawed. A couple of weeks ago I thought they might be Winter Craneflies, but I was wrong. The one above is patiently awaiting a better day.
|A lauxaniid fly Sapromyza sp.|
Do to some confusion about the difference between a postsutural inter-alar seta and a postsutural alar seta, I was nearly wrong about a small fly in the family Lauxaniidae too, but a friend put me right. The little grey Sapromyza sp.
has an unfortunate generic name (Greek for 'putrid sucker'), but is a pleasant enough companion on a sunny spring day.
|A pair of Sapromyza enjoying the spring sun and preparing to do what flies do so well|