A very short walk on Hervey’s Range

Stick insect hanging beneath a leaf
Stick insect

I had an idle hour or so while I was visiting family on Hervey’s Range last weekend so I wandered very slowly around their bush block with my camera, taking photos of all the interesting little wildlife I spotted. This is the wet season, albeit not a very wet season so far, so the bush is looking quite lush and the herbivorous insects are taking full advantage of the food supply – and the predators, in turn, are taking full advantage of them – by multiplying enthusiastically. I must have missed far, far more than I saw but I still came back with a good collection; here are some highlights.

The stick insect above was one of several on a small tree. When disturbed, they drop out of their tree and play dead. When that doesn’t work, they do their (very poor) best to scramble away and hide.

black and gold beetle
Tiger beetle
black beetle with white markings
A small Longicorn beetle on a blade of grass
brown beetle
Weevil on a blade of dry grass

Weevils are a family of beetles characterised by their trunk-like snouts, as seen (e.g.) here.


black bug on twig
Plant-hopper
cicada on leaf
A smallish cicada, perhaps the Brown Sugarcane Cicada, Cicadetta crucifera
cicada-like bug
Plant-hopper, Fulgoridae

The cicada looks like the odd one out but these three are all Hemiptera and all sap-suckers.


black and silver fly on twig
Robber-fly, rather small for the family at about 12mm long
brown insect on leaf
Juvenile (but already large) cricket or katydid
orange-brown cockroach
This rather handsome creature is a native cockroach

These three are unrelated.

I turned over the twig the cockroach was resting on to see where the spider silk was coming from and found a whole family – mother and hatchlings, anyway, though no father – nestling underneath:

gold and white spider
Mother and babies

There were lots more spiders, too. A small creamy-white Crab spider, Thomisus spectabilis, was waiting patiently on the tip of a leaf; a couple of Lynx spiders were doing the same, while one was protecting hatchlings like the spider above; and a large Garden Orb-weaver, Eriophora transmarina, slept the afternoon away under the edge of a leaf, waiting for evening to renovate her half-metre web and (hopefully) catch her dinner.

Presenting these spiders as thumbnail images obscures their size difference. The only one on this page which is larger in real life than an adult’s thumbnail is the Garden orb-weaver, which is only about almond size anyway in the posture seen here. The others are all considerably smaller, so they are larger than life-size even before you click on them to see high-resolution images.

white spider
Thomisus spectabilis flaunting her bandit mask
brown furry spider
Garden orb-weaver in her day-time retreat
striped spider on dead leaf
Lynx

 

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