Insect days

The warm and sunny autumn days of the last couple of weeks (until yesterday) have brought out the insects. The birds were probably very pleased when the rain stopped and they could get a decent feed.

I found a stick insect of my very own. This one ([update] a spur-legged stick insectDidymuria violescens – thanks to Denis for the suggestion; see the comments below) was smaller than the last one – the length of the body about 90 mm, compared with 150 mm for the other one.

Stick insect

I kept hearing a humming sound, like it was coming from inside a pipe. It turned out to be the noise of the wings of this female mudwasp (Abispa ephippium) as it flew in and out of a pot, adding mud to its nest. Mudwasps are solitary, not aggressive, and rarely sting.

Mudwasp

Humming in a different way were the social paper-nest wasps (Polistes variabilis), this time inside a bird nest-box. The humming might have been the fanning of wings to keep the nest cool. I got a mild sting from one when I approached too close to take a photo. No bird will be brave enough to enter this box, I guarantee.

Paper-nest wasps and nest inside nest-box

Here’s a katydid (long-horned grasshopper, one of the Caedicia species)…

Katydid

Katydid

… and dragonflies. At last they held still long enough to photograph – they both have cobwebs on their wings, so seem to have escaped from a web. Perhaps that’s why they weren’t as flighty as usual.

Dragonfly

Dragonfly

The dragonfly below was photographed in South Australia, but I’m putting it in because I like it …

South Australian dragonfly; photo by Rodney Hunt

Grasshopper …

Grasshopper; photo by Andrew Roberts

Cotton harlequin jewel bug (Tectocoris diophthalmus) – nymph …

Cotton harlequin jewel bug nymph

The male is bright …

Male adult cotton harlequin jewel bug; photo by Andrew Roberts

… the female is larger and yellow-orange. You can see the wings under the elytra (wing covers) at the back …

Cotton harlequin jewel bug – female adult; photo by Andrew Roberts

Wild tobacco spined bug (Cuspicona forticornis) – we certainly have enough wild tobacco (Solanum mauritianum) around to support these …

Wild tobacco spined bug

Other predators besides birds are on the lookout, like the St Andrew’s cross spider (Argiope keyserlingii) …

St Andrews Cross spider

… a web-weaving spider that stretched out into the shape of a thin twig when disturbed…

‘Twig’ spider

… an orb weaver (Nephila edulis?) …

Orbweaver

.. a huntsman hunting indoors…

Huntsman

Huntsman

and an eastern water dragon (Physignathus lesueurii) …

Lizard lunching on grasshopper

It’s settling in for rain again, so the insects may get a reprieve – temporarily.

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7 Responses to Insect days

  1. Denis Wilson says:

    Nice post, Joy.
    By coincidence I am attempting to ID a Stick Insect (much smaller than yours).
    Did you consider the Children’s Stick Insect (Tropidoderus childrenii). It certainly has the long “cerci” your specimen shows. Alternatively, the Spur-legged Stick-insect (Didymuria violescens)?
    It has the right colour for the tiny amount of wing showing low down on your specimen’s back, and as far as I can tell, your specimen has distinctive spurs or raspy structures on the rear legs.
    It is always hard to tell from single photos. Both these species have the right distribution (as does the “Titan”.
    Just a couple of thoughts.
    PS What is your Water Dragon eating?
    Is it a Cicada?
    Regards
    Denis

    • Joy Window says:

      Thanks, Denis. I’m going to buy the stick insect field guide and have a closer look at the photo. The water dragon is eating a large, very green grasshopper – I didn’t ID the grasshopper. On that sunny day there were dozens of both grasshoppers and water dragons out and about in the same vicinity.

  2. Great pics, Joy! The jewel bugs are beautiful!

  3. Denis Wilson says:

    Hi Joy
    I have linked back to your post from mine of tonight, as i have IDed (with some help) my little pair of Robinson’s Stick-insects.
    Cheers
    Denis

  4. Jan Crowley says:

    Hi Joy ..
    Loved all your photos – your Nephila Edulis is what my Charlotte was and you know all about her.
    Jan

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