What’s around – mid December 2012

cicada on wall
Yellow Tree Buzzer, Pauropsalta eryei

July’s rainfall total was 106mm, all of which fell between the 10th and 16th. Since then, i.e. in the last five months, we have had a total of only 10mm, the last of which was 0.4mm on Nov 18. Dry season indeed!

That said, temperatures and humidity have continued to creep up over the last month, and plants and animals alike have begun to anticipate the coming Wet. Our lawn has started growing again, the poincianas are flowering, the ball-of-fire lilies have flowered and the Carpentaria lilies have sent up stalks and leaves.

Probably the most notable change in our insect world is that Christmas beetles have arrived (mid-size brown and green ones, anyway; I haven’t seen the big golden ones yet, or an elephant beetle).

brown butterfly with white markings
Blue-banded Eggfly, Hypolimnas alimena, on banana trunk.

The first cicadas are here, too, and tiny grasshopper nymphs. Mud-dauber wasp numbers have increased, with Delta, Sceliphron and an unidentified red and yellow species of Eumeninae all building their nests.  The paper wasp nest I showed in September is still occupied but has hardly grown, as there are still only a couple of adult wasps at it. Blue-banded and Resin bees are around, too – one of the former met a sticky end at the hands (proboscis?) of this robber fly.

There have still been no mozzies to speak of. That is not a disappointment.

The hang-on-through-the-dry-season fauna is still hanging on: Lynx and Jumping spiders (but hardly any others), Green ants and Rattle ants, Leaf Hoppers (Flatidae) and a few other sap-sucking hemiptera; and Tiger craneflies,  Dolichopodidae, Soldier flies and hoverflies.

Ant-lion on frond
Ant-lion on ponytail palm

Of the butterflies, we are seeing Yellow Migrants, Pale Triangles, Junonia, Blue-banded Eggfly (a picture showing the blue bands is here), Common Eggfly, Cairns Birdwing, Zebra Blue and Magpie moths, but all in small numbers.

There are always ‘strays’ – critters which are new to me (still!) or which I know but rarely see. A tiny, gangly wasp in the former category is here, and the ant-lion at left is in the latter.

This time last month and last year.


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