Friday, January 23, 2015

Crane Fly

On several of my recent and frequent visits to Nangara Reserve at Jindivick, I have disturbed clouds of Crane Flies in the moist understory. Mostly I’ve been chasing some other poor subject for my camera and when I have had a half-hearted go at snapping a Crane Fly it would never sit still long enough.

I managed to track one down the other day and got a couple of acceptable images – while it was stuck in a super-fine spider web!
Cop those super long antennae.
Some Crane Fly facts …
  •   The family Tipulidae is the largest family in the Diptera group - thousands of species.
  •   The larvae may thrive in a wide variety of habitats, water, wet soil, moss beds, dead logs, even dry earth.
  • Crane Flies are closely related to mosquitoes but do not drink blood.
  • Their adult stage may only last a few days during which they do not eat.
  • One common name is the very obvious Daddy-long-legs.
  • In the larval form they feed on detritus and break down organic matter – they are decomposers.
  • In larval and adult form they are an important food item for many other species – birds, frogs, fish, spiders, etc and other insects.
  • Fisherman like to use larval and adult Crane Flies for bait and lures.
  • As larvae, some Crane Flies can be a pest in turf grass and crop situations.
The long legs are principally for clinging to vegetation rather than for walking.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Teeming Tea Tree

Over at Ben Crauchan, DF recently recorded some of the bountiful invertebrates that visit Bursaria sp. at this time of year. Whilst the Bursaria is abundant in this area too at the moment, I discovered a similar event on the Prickly Tea Tree at Nangara Reserve.

I ticked more or less the same suite of species as Duncan …

Large Greenbottle? Chrsomya rufifacies.

Spotted Flower Chafer? Polystigma punctata

White-spotted Pintail Beetle? Hoshihananomia leucosticta.

While so gainfully employed, I became aware of a deep bzzz-bzzz-bzzz and the sky went dark, (well, in my imagination anyhow), and this large hairy-a..sed blowy landed nearby.

One of the Tachinid Fly family - I think? Rutilia sp perhaps?

The order Diptera, (Flies), is a large order. Then there are suborders, families, subfamilies, tribes, genus, sections, series, species, subspecies and variety, huh! I couldn't find the name Large black H-A Blowy in any of that!?


Sunday, January 18, 2015

With Friends at the Summit

I spent an enjoyable day yesterday on Mt St Gwinear with the Friends of Baw Baw National Park and the Latrobe Valley Field Naturalists. Whilst I generally prefer to wander in the bush on my own, at my own pace, looking at the things that interest me mostly on the day, taking heaps of time to set up a photograph, etc, it was nice yesterday to be in the company of passionate and knowledgeable people who were able to explain what I was looking at – but I still did some small solitary explorations.

I have definitely developed a comfort zone. I’m quite happy to tick birds, some plants, a few invertebrates, etc, with a casual glimpse or a faint call within local woodland, wetland or plains habitat. The subalpine/alpine ecosystem is completely another matter. Oh dear, I hope I live long enough!

Subalpine heathlands.
 Just a few images from the day …
(Identifications not guaranteed – correspondence is welcome)

A not very good image of a Macleay’s Swallowtail, (Graphium macleayanum). Feeds with quivering wings, darting from flower to flower. A nice photographic challenge in which I failed this time around.

I think this is the Mountain Greenhood, (P. alpina). A colony of these for 10-20metres on the side of the track. 

Solander’s Brown, (Heteronympha solandri). A fairly common brown butterfly found in open woodland and montane habitats.

The Trigger Plant, (Stylidium sp), was quite prominent on the track and in the bush from the carpark to the summit.

Colourful drupes on a Subalpine Beard Heath shrub, (Leucopogon maccraei).

A moss covered granite boulder on the way to becoming soil through mechanical weathering. Snow Gums in the background.

Thanks Alix et al, but where was that b….y chair lift?