Monday, 17 September 2018

They've Started!

At exactly 6.38 pm, AEST on 14 September the first Green Grocers of the season, Cyclochila virens, were heard on Butler Drive,  Kuranda. There was not the loud chorus that one might expect. Perhaps, the dry conditions or the fact that not many had emerged is the reason for the supposed diminished numbers.

Over the next few months the cicadas will sing around this time, but each day the chorus begins a few seconds later than the previous day. Towards the end of their season, the chorus will commence well after 7.00 pm. Some interesting biology is to be learned here. Surely the individuals at the end of the season are not the same as those that have just started. So population has some rather peculiar triggers relative to the activity of the adults cicadas, perhaps photoperiod but how is this transmitted to nymphal cicadas in the ground? Many local birds and reptiles depend on the large cicadas for food so their activity is an important part of the food chain here.

Friday, 14 September 2018


Densey Clyne has produced an new book-her 32nd! This one is her best. It deals with her encounters with a variety of invertebrates-katydids, caterpillars, spiders, bugs etc. Once you start reading, you will not be able to put it down and I guarantee you will uncover some observation that is new to you be it the Cast-net Spider using a faecal lure for the flies it hopes to catch or the Magnificent Spider luring male moths by simulating the female's scent.
Densey's writing is elegant and fluid. It appeals to both the scientist and the interested naturalist. She talks about pollination noting that without it there would be little or no food for us among others. Anything that comes from flowering plants is the result of pollination by insects.

There are 35 chapters dealing with observations over the years. There are short jaunts to New Guinea and Borneo in her book as well. The photography is superb and well reproduced with a number of photos taken by her colleague Jim Frazier:

In the introduction to the book she state" Writing these stories has given me almost as much pleasure as the encounters themselves. Since childhood my two  greatest interests have been the world of nature and the world of words Happily for me the two worlds merged." And happily for us we have this book.

The book is a welcome addition to the library and would also make a very nice Christmas present for a lucky individual.

My Encounters with Minibeats From Purple Moonbeams to Itchy Cows. New Holland Publishers ISBN 9781925546170.