Posted on Wed 18th Apr 2012
This emerged from a fish tank that sits on my desk at work! I had planted it with millfoil from my pond at home and larvae or eggs came along for the ride.
The larvae in the shot (known as a mud-eye) is actually the hollow case that remains after the adult has emerged through a slit in it's back.
I caught the adult, which was fluttering at my ...
Posted on Tue 15th Mar 2011
This species occurs throughout Australia (except Western Tassie), in all habitats, and the larvae feed on a wide variety of dicotyledenous (broad-leaved) plants. If you can't get this one to visit your garden you must be living in a toxic barren.
Posted on Mon 28th Feb 2011
This praying mantis looks like a Garden Mantid (Orthodera ministralis) although that species is described as having a purple or blue spot in the inside of each raptorial fore-leg, and the spots on this female are black. According to the Australian Fauna Directory, the species Orthodera rubrocoxata also occurs in Victoria, but I can't fing any photographs or information online to enable me to make a distintion. ...
Posted on Fri 18th Feb 2011
The Yellow-banded Dart (Ocybadistesv walkeri) is a common butterfly of bushland, rural and urban habitats throughout much of Southern Eastern and Northern Australia. Pictured here is the eastern sub species Ocybadistesv walkeri sothis, which occurs throughout the Eastern Australian coastal plains, Great Dividing ranges and their drier inland slopes. The sub species O. w. hypochlora occurs around Adelaide whereas O. w. olivia is found ...
Posted on Thu 17th Feb 2011
The Yellow Admiral (or Australian Admiral - Vanessa itea) is widespread throughout much of temperate Australia and in a few isolated desert settlements such as Alice Springs to which it has presumably been introduced along with it's food plants. It also occurs in New Zealand. It's pupa feed on a number of species within the nettle family - Urticaceae - including both Australian natives and introduced species, such ...
Posted on Thu 10th Feb 2011
I found this Katydid in my garden yesterday. Going by photos I can find on the web the species appears to be the Common Garden Katydid (Caedicia simplex). However given that there are over a thousand katydid species in Australia, I'm not 100% sure. (I've got a big collection of flora and fauna ID books, but don't yet possess the Guide to the Katydids of Australia.)
Posted on Thu 3rd Feb 2011
I see in my website visitation statistics that the lizards are through-the-roof popular. And fair enough - they're magnificent beasts! SO, I present to you a gallery of Sleepy lizards.
This is perhaps the reptile most loved by Aussie kids. They look fearsome but it's mostly bluff - although they do have a wicked bite if you are dumb enough to let one latch on to you. They're ...
Posted on Wed 2nd Feb 2011
Our peaches are ripening and this little guy has been turning up each night to pilfer them. There are plenty of peaches so we can spare a few. I can hear it squawking as I type this.
Grey-headed flying foxes occur along the coastal plains and around the ranges of the Great Australian Divide - from central Queensland, through NSW to southern Victoria. They're in serious decline across their entire range ...
Posted on Mon 24th Jan 2011
The Mud Islands are a complex of low islands in the mid west of Port Phillip Bay. The crew of the SV Pelican (Pelican Expeditions) in collaboration with Parks Victoria are running a series of volunteer enviornmental monitoring days around Port Phillip. I was lucky enough to go along.
Posted on Sun 23rd Jan 2011
Chinaman's Hat is in Port Phillip Bay near the heads. It was originally built as a part of the defence system in World War 2, was colonised by fur seals, and when the original structure rotted was rebuilt to cater for them.
Australian Fur Seals are a subspecies of the Brown Fur Seal and occur from southern NSW waters through to Victoria and the Bass Strait. Popes eye is a hang out for bachelours too young, too old or otherwise too wimpy to strut their stuff with the females at the Seal Rocks colony at Phillip Island.
Posted on Fri 7th Jan 2011
I spotted this handsom beast in the Rawson Creek Nature Reserve, near Port Maquarie, NSW. It was perched on a log beside a mangrove and saltmarsh lined creek. When I got close it leapt into the undergrowth and then disappeared into the water beneath a mangrove tree.
Eastern Water Dragons are found beside waterways along the Australian east coast from Eastern Victoria through to Cooktown in Queensland. A small colony near Adelaide ...
Posted on Fri 7th Jan 2011
I got this shot among the coastal dunes in Bongil Bongil National park just south of Coffs Harbour, NSW. It was during one of the rare periods of sunshine in the leadup to the east coast floods. There were dozens of butterflies and if I'd had another few minutes I would have got the perfect shot. My holiday got cut short and I came home with few photos. But I can't grumble ...
Posted on Fri 24th Dec 2010
On the way to the Woodford Folk Festival I dropped in to visit friends in the upper reaches of Nambucca Valley. Their home is in a little forested valley and they live with a diverse menagerie of frogs, little mammals, reptiles, birds and insects. A pond beside the house was rauchus with four species of frog including this little guy - the Bleating Tree Frog (Litoria dentata). They weren't in the slightest bit concerned by me getting up close.
Posted on Wed 22nd Dec 2010
On the way to Sydney I camped in CIltern Box-Ironbark National Park. SInce leaving Adelaide this was the furtherest north that I came across any plaguing locusts. The bush is looking lush after the rains of recent months. In the morning as I went for a short walk the locusts flew up, some of them landing in the webs of the miriad of orb weaving spiders that had set up between the trees. I watched this one for quite a while - it was quite a battle. Locusts of course have quite a kick, so the spider had to repeatedly run in to attemp to wrap it in web only to be wacked away each time. Those fangs look nasty!
Posted on Tue 12th Oct 2010
I've built a pond in my backyard, planted it with a diverse variety of native plants and stocked it with shrimp and and aquatic invertebrates from local streams and wetlands. I searched for ages through the aquarium shops of Melbourne for suitable native fish from the Melbourne area, and finally found that the Frankston Aquarium Shop had Southern Pygmy Perch - an endangered species. So I bought some the pond they went. But ...
Posted on Sat 9th Oct 2010
Having planted a diverse mix of native plants in my garden, all manner of native insects have moved in. This little native bee is feasting on pollen and nectare from my common everastings. You can see that it is covered in pollen, so is acting as an effective polinator.
There are about 1500 species of native bees in Australia. They are generally smaller than the introduced bee. Most are solitary, but there are ten species that are social. The solitary ones do not produce honey. The social ones produce honey and are stingless.
Posted on Sat 9th Oct 2010
There is a daisy bush in my front yard. Sitting on many of the flowers are these little spiders. Like their feline namesake they capture their prey by leaping onto it. This one has captured a hover fly - which is what I was actually trying to photograph.
Posted on Fri 3rd Sep 2010
It's not a great photo, but what a fabulous creature! This is a Tasmanian Wedge-tailed Eagle. They are a larger darker subspecies of the mainland wedgie. There are just 130 breeding pairs in Tasmania where they became isolated by rising sea levels at the end of the last ice age, 10,00 years ago. They are the largest flying bird in Australia, standing over a metre tall, weighing up to 5 kg, and with a wing span of up to 2.2 m.
I spotted it while travelling to a Connies environmental education gig on the Tasmanian east coast.
>> More details at the Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife Service website
Posted on Sat 27th Dec 2008
This lizard was on the fore dunes at a beach south of Franklin Harbour on the Eyre Peninsular. The Painted Dragon (Ctenophorus pictus) occurs through much of arid and semi-arid southern and southern-central Australia. They are quite common on the Eyre Peninsular. You generally see then scooting toward their burrow which they dig at the base of a small shrub.
Posted on Mon 15th Sep 2008
These two are among a small flock that has been resident in a paddock south of the You Yang hills (north-west of Geelong). They've been there for at least 5 years.
Cape Barren Geese are a Southern Australia species and were once far more common than now, having suffered due to the loss of wetlands. But they have adapted to grazing in pastures and numbers have apparently stabilised.
Posted on Mon 8th Sep 2008
The largest of the white Australian egrets is the Great Egret - recognisable by the neck being longer then the body. The slightly smaller Intermediate Egret has a neck the same length as it's body. And then there is the smaller Cattle Egret shown here. It has a yellowish hue to it's chest and neck and likes to hang out with cows. They do so because they catch insects that are scared up as the cattle graze.
Posted on Tue 29th Jan 2008
There are six Blue-tongue lizard species. Three occur in Victoria, The Shingleback or Sleepy lizard which occurs predominately in drier forests, woodlands and shrublands, the common or Eastern Blue-tongue found throughout eastern Australia and in the wetter regions of northern Australia, and this one - the Blotched or Southern Blue-tongue which occurs in southern Victoria and adjacent areas of SA, NSW and in Tasmania. Blue-tongues all puff themselves up when threatened, open their mouths wide, stick out their tongues and hiss. But they are relatively slow and easy to pick up if you're quick.
They eat flowers, fruit, invertebrates and small vertebrates such as mice. They are an asset in the garden as they will eat the snails, but they'll also eat all your strawberries including the flowers. Be careful, if you bait for snails you'll poison your Blue-tingues. Their bite is vice-like. I vividly remember being bitten by a baby Sleepy Lizard that I was keeping as a pet when I was about six. All the species give birth to live young.
Posted on Sat 8th Dec 2007
Trigger plants (Stylidium graminifolium in this case) are fertilised by native bees or wasps. The petal arrangement resembles the wings of an insect and the flowers possibly send out a scent that entices some insects to attempt to mate with them. When a bee or wasp tickles the centre of a flower, the tensioned anther column flicks over whacking the amorous visitor with a puff of pollen. When this is repeated with another flower, the unwitting Romeo cross-fertilises them.