There’s still life in a dry-season garden

Honey-bee on pentas flower
Honey-bee on pentas flower

I have been saying for a few weeks that insect activity in the garden has dropped off with the drier, cooler weather and it’s true. (It’s true every year, of course, and I documented the changes here in some detail in 2011 and 2012 – see this post). That doesn’t mean, however, that there are no invertebrates at all at this time of year. For example, I took the photos on this page in one slow ramble around the garden last week.

brown bee on leaf
Small native bee, only about 7mm long
metallic fly on leaf
A very small predatory fly, Dolichopodidae family
grey-brown fly
Robber fly, Asilidae
orange beetle
Orchid-munching Dendrobium Beetle on leaf of Golden Orchid
orange spider on web
Spider with prey – a fly or a small wasp
brown spider
Spider hiding in dead frangipani branch

I could also have photographed plenty of ants, especially the Rattle Ants and Green Ants, and the common blue blow-flies. I did see one paper wasp, Ropalidia revolutionalis (photo here, on Flickr), but their nests have emptied in the last few weeks so I guess it was one of the last of the season’s hatchlings. I don’t know if the Mud-dauber wasps, Delta spp., suffer quite the same drop-off but I do know they are still around.

As for spiders, there are lots of the small spiky Gasteracantha sacerdotalis and quite a lot of even smaller spiders. The larger one I found in the hollow frangipani branch (definitely a male and perhaps Eriophora transmarina) is a species that spreads its web each night and takes it in again each morning, and I really don’t know how many of them we have.

And where are the butterflies? None posed for me that afternoon but we’re still seeing occasional Cairns Birdwings, Ulysses, Common Eggfly and Grass Yellows. If you don’t know them, using the search box in the sidebar will find you plenty of older photos of all of them.

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