Monday, 25 January 2016

Invertebrates overlooked

Female Red-backed Spider from Levenstrath
Although they make up the majority of animal species on earth the invertebrates are often overlooked when biodiversity and conservation are considered.  The invertebrates are interesting and valuable in their own right but are also important items in the food chain of many vertebrate species.  They are also essential to the pollination of plants and may have detrimental impacts as well, especially when humans have interfered with the natural balance, such as eucalypt die-back which is often caused by beetles and curl grubs.

The term bug is often applied to all insects and their relatives but this term properly applies to insects with sucking mouth parts, both carnivorous and herbivorous - order HEMIPTERA (half-wings).  Apparently 'bug' is an old English word for any strange creature which was small and, generally, unpleasant (Insects of Australia, John Goode), so we have come the full circle.  

 I have photographed a number of invertebrate species at home and at other local sites recently.  The following are photos of some of them.

If anyone knows the specific names of the Huntsman-like spider, the lacewing or the king cricket I would be keen to know.

Longicorn Beetle Rhytiphora sp., Coutts Crossing
Hedge Grasshopper, Coffs Harbour, missing hind legs apparently due to predator (?cat attack)

Cluster of Cotton Harlequin Bugs on Native Rosella Hibiscus heterophyllus, Coutts Crossing  

Giant Panda Snails mating, Bindaree National Park

caterpillar (? Salma pyrastis) on Native Rosella, Coutts Crossing

Male Blue Skimmer Dragonfly, Coutts Crossing

Lacewing, Coutts Crossing

St Andrews Cross Spider, Coutts Crossing

Cuttlefish Bone, Wilsons Headland, Yuraygir National Park

Spider (? Huntsman) Woodford Island Nature Reserve    

King Cricket, Woodford island Nature Reserve   
Leech, Woodford Island Nature Reserve   
Garden Orb-weaving Spider, Woodford Island Nature Reserve    

Golden Orb-weaving Spider, Woodford Island Nature Reserve