Insects in my new Townsville garden

Each garden attracts some different insects and spiders from its neighbours because of the different food plants and micro-habitats it offers. The difference between our old garden and our new one is most apparent in the butterflies, since their caterpillars often eat only one or two species of plant.

Here we haven’t (yet) got any Plumbago, so we have no Plumbago Blue butterflies; but we do have Cycads.

cycad blue butterfly
Cycad Blue on the rib of a caterpillar-chewed cycad frond

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As I said a few months ago, “When I started taking a real interest in invertebrates, flies were the group that surprised me most. Time after time, something I thought was a wasp or bee, even a dragonfly, turned out to be a fly.” Here is one that lives a dragonfly lifestyle, an active, agile aerial predator. It is a Robber Fly, Asilidae. 

Robber fly and bee
Robber fly, Asilidae, and Blue-banded Bee, Amegilla sp.

It is quite large by insect standards, nearly as big as a dragonfly but much more heavily built, and its strength allows it to take much larger prey. This one has caught a Blue-banded Bee (Amegilla sp.) and is perching on a Pentas stalk to consume it. I have also seen them with Soldier Flies (almost bee-sized) and, amazingly, one with a Cicada as big as itself.

There’s a good article about Robber Flies on wikipedia if you would like to know more.