What’s in my garden – mid July

It’s a month since my last survey but not a lot has changed. The weather has mostly been so beautiful that staying indoors is a sin, but that equates to dry and relatively cool weather (max. 24- 26C, min 10-12C) which doesn’t encourage insect activity.

The butterfly species which has risen to prominence recently is the Common Crow. I got some nice pictures of them on snakeweed at Cape Pallarenda and Magnetic Island but they have become common in my garden too. They love one particular plant so much that two of them would share one flower:

Two Common Crows sharing a yellow flower
Two Common Crows sharing a meal

I don’t know what the plant is. It has a thistle-like flower and green-purple serrated leaves. Can anyone tell me?

Aside from the Crows, I have been seeing …

  • Butterflies: still lots of Chocolate Soldiers (Junonia hedonia), reasonable numbers of  Dingy Bush Browns (Mycalesis perseus), a few resident Melanitis leda, occasional Eurema, Cairns Birdwing, Common Egg-fly and others.
  • Moths: very few except Tiger Moths (Nyctemera), the little pale grass moths and occasional nocturnal visitors such as this one.
  • Flies, sap-suckers (Hemiptera) and grasshoppers: most species but in small numbers.
  • Mantises: surprisingly, I have seen a couple of juveniles of different species; no adults, though.
  • Spiders: lots of small spiky spiders, Austracantha and Gasteracantha, Jumping Spiders and some St Andrew’s Cross and Silver Orb-weavers. One mid-sized Huntsman was perfectly comfortable indoors but was gently evicted at the request of a visitor.
  • Dragonflies: none at all in my garden (but still quite a few near permanent water).
  • Wasps and bees: a couple of small nests of Paper Wasps (Polistes stigma townsvillensis), with occasional mud-daubers (Delta arcuata and D. sceliphron) and the insect I can’t help thinking of as the Blue-bum Bee. It isn’t a Bumble Bee but is formally known as the Common Blue-banded Bee (Amegilla sp.). I’m sure you can see the multiple sources of my name for it, even before you see its picture.
Blue-banded Bee(seen from behind) on pentas
Blue-banded Bee (Amegilla) on pentas

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