Saturday, 6 February 2010

Fun at the Fruit

If you would like to have a different experience, place some well ripened fruit in your bird feeding tray and poke your head out after dark and see what's happening. In this wet, humid period, you'll be surprised at all the activity. You might find a mammal or two taking advantage, so be prepared.

This is a catacoline noctuid. Quite a mouthful. Ted Edwards suggests it may be Thyas miniacea. I did not want to collect it as it seemed to be having such a wonderful time! Note the mouth, a feeding tube with the tip barbed. These moths can cause great damage to a fruit crop. it's not that they eat so much but that the barbed mouthpart pierces the skin of the fruit and allows destructive fungi to enter that reduces the fruit's marketability.

This is a common cockroach in the rainforest. It is a blaberid, a different family from the blattellids noted below. This species spends the day in the leaf litter and individuals found in early evening often have sand grains on their bodies. This indicates they do some burrowing. The numbers seen on vegetation and at the lights indicates it is a common species. The genus, Molytria, is in a taxonomic mess and it is impossible to place a species name on any of the species because their original descriptions are so vague and non-descriptive!
The lower moth is probably a noctuid, the other a geometrid, a representative of another large family. This one appears to be Borbacha euchrysa. For an elegant look at many of the moths of Kuranda, visit Kuranda Mothology. This site was designed by Kuranda artist and mothologist Buck Richardson who has an equally elegant book on the subject noted below.

This elegant moth is Hulodes caranea. Many large fruit moths travel great distances and some can wind up in parts of the country where their species could not survive the winter.

This is a happy group of frugivores. Most of the moths are noctuids. The striped on is Erchia ekeikei. The more you look, the more you will see. The beetle in the foreground is a click beetle, quite a different species from the one below.

You can judge the size of this click relative to the orange. There are many species of click beetles in this rainforest ranging from a few millimeters in size to giants 40 mm or more.

Any goils about? I know I've had a blog on stalk-eyed flies but they are so photogenic. Aside from having a good feed, this guy is looking for the opposite sex.

The object of his affections. Females select males with "great racks", but if the pickings are meagre, well he'll do.

this nice scarab is often seen flying during the day. Note all the drosophila flies and their pupae as well as the fruit fly in the foreground. The take-home message here is that this bevy of fruit-feeding insects is reducing the fruit to detritus and returning it to the soil. This will nourish the rainforest plants and animals that rely on these larger insects to break down this resource. All part of the recycling process.

Reference

Richardson, B. 2008. Mothology: Discover the Magic. (Leapfrogoz, Kuranda Kreations, Kuranda, Queensland, Australia.) Pp. 1-66.

1 comment:

Denis Wilson said...

Love the Stalk-eyed Fly.
Weird and wonderful.
Cheers
Denis