Tuesday, September 28, 2010

More life around the yard

There's always something happening in the garden here, and the great thing about moving to a new area is that there are so many new things to encounter. So far we have seen at least half a dozen species of jumping spiders (Salticidae) in our yard. Today we also spotted a colourful diurnal cockroach (Ellipsidion sp.) out enjoying the sun.

One of many jumping spiders active in the sunshine.

Another just passing the time. 

Ellipsidion sp. These cockroaches are colourful and active by day, not at all stereotypical cupboard dwellers.

Malanda walk

Went to Malanda yesterday, a small town south east of Atherton in north Queensland. Went for a walk in on 1km rainforest loop before and after dark. The cicadas began calling just on nightfall and were literally deafening, the combined sound from the thousands of calling insects was brain piercing and at distortion point. After about 15 minutes someone amongst their ranks decided enough was enough and they all became silent. That left the night to the more pleasent calls of crickets and katydids.

Although its early in the season, there's a bit of life starting to appear. Two Boyd's Forest Dragons (Hypsilurus boydii) were out before dark along with an abundance of strange flies including some crane flies with legs 80mm long. After dark White Kneed King Crickets (Penalva flavocalceata) were very active, and some very large harvestmen were present on tree trunks.

A Boyd's Forest Dragon. This one was sitting motionless just off the track.

Some strange flies displaying even stranger behaviour. They were facing off, then creeping towards one another. As I took the photo the one on the right stooped down to drink at the foot of the other.

Another species of rainforest fly we are not yet familiar with.

A large Harvestman; an arachnid with eight legs and a single body part - spiders differ as they have two distict body parts.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

We're here!

Well, we made it to north Queensland and it was a hectic move! Amidst the emotion of finishing with Melbourne Museum after almost 12 years, and keeping Minibeast Wildlife running as per normal in Victoria we managed to get ourselves and our animal collection up here. The weather has been much wetter than usual at this time of year, so in our first two weeks have seen 6 species of frogs on or adjacent to our property. So far only one snake, a 2.5 metre Scrub Python. The invetebrate life seems to be slowly gearing up as we move into spring. Each night we're seeing just a little more out and about...here's a taste of what we've seen so far.

Four o'clock Moth, Dysphania fenestrata

Green-eyed Tree Frog, Litoria genimaculata

Litoria jungguy

Orange-thighed Tree Frog, Litoria xanthomera

Unidentified stink-bug

Wasp mimicking fly feeding upon gecko scat