Wednesday, 20 November 2013

A Couple of Rainforest Pretties

Not all insects you see in rainforests are stunning but here are a couple that are really excetional.

 Zeuzera aeglospila (Turner) is a member of the family Cossidae. Cossid are called Carpenter Moths because the larvae live in dead wood, feeding and reducing the wood to phrass that provides nutrients to plants and other organisms. Z. aeglospila is a Queensland species but another member of the genus occurs in India and the Philippines feeds on Cinnamon trees and the genus Litsea. Nothing is known of the habits of the Australian species but we have Litsea on our property.

Many of the Carpenter Moths are grey or brown, not very colourful. But when you see this species up close it has a remarkable array of colours and iridescence.

Another gem is the Cuckoo Wasp. There are many species spread throughout the world. As a rule they are a challenge to the photographer because they seem like perpetual motion machines. You often see them examining holes in wooden buildings in search of potential hosts.

This little fellow flew into the house and landed on the window sill where it gradually came to rest.

Cuckoo Wasps (family Chrysididae) are usually under 20 mm in length and have a tough integument. The punctured sculpturing is a characteristic of the family and probably aids in preventing them from being stung. Most are parasites of other wasps ands when the tables are turned, they can roll up into a ball and become almost impervious to the stings of their hosts. A few species are parasites of moth larvae.