- and more of them too. It's like buying a yellow kombi - suddenly you see yellow kombis everywhere. Well I saw two more of them (Velvet Ants, that is) and now I know what they're doing.
As she runs around - and mighty fast she is too - she lifts up her back end and releases pheromones to attract a winged male for the purposes of mating. At the same time she's digging in the sand to find a bee or wasp nest that has pupae and lays a single, fertilised egg in each one. Her larvae will then feed on their hosts. Now that's what you call multi-tasking.
Still bearing the scars of summer's infestation the same trees are now under a second psyllid attack - with fresh lerps on their foliage. Hope they can withstand this one too, as they prepare to flower. Below you can see a very early instar nymph.
and on a lighter note - what manner of creature manufactures poo cubes?
This is a White-tailed Spider (Lampona) inside my house.
They do come inside from time to time - although not as often as Huntsman Spiders. So I took the pic and, when enlarged (the actually spider is about 12mm long), I noticed the white blob at end and was curious. Searching the web (sorry) for pics of white-tailed spiders I found a match.
I hadn't seen one before, but I vaguely remember the huge explosion of scaremongering that went on when their bites were blamed for a new flesh-eating disease"necrotising arachnidism" . It was such a convincing lot of hype that medical doctors were diagnosing it. Of course any wound can create an entry point for nasties, but in a study of 130 people with confirmed white-tail bite found not a single case of ulceration - nor did a previous study.
I'd rather not be bitten by a spider - or anything else for that matter, but I know it won't attack me. It's in the house looking for its favourite supper - the Black House Spider. They're fond of Redbacks too, so roam around looking in likely nooks and crannies. Swings and roundabouts really.
For instance - to me this looks like a seashell, even though it's 20km from the sea.
Unfortunately it is an introduced Mediterranean land snail that is regarded as an agricultural pest in Australia and called a Small Pointed Snail (Prietocella barbara). Thank you to the experts at Museums Victoria for the information.
Of the 300 species of Limonium world-wide, this one, Limonium perezii, is one of two that are endemic to Australia. You might know it as a Sea Lavender. It's not related to a lavender in any way though and was traditionally referred to as Statice. It's very popular for dried flower arrangements I've read - and popular with me because this species is perennial, grows well in sand and is drought resistant.
Finally, if you're in South Australia and wondering what plants do well where you live then the Botanic Gardens of South Australian have the answers with their nifty plant selector. Just type in your suburb/postcode and see.
The male Drooping Sheoak is flowering which has sent the honey bees into an ecstasy of pollen and nectar collection - such tiny flowers too.
Whereas the Correa flower is perfectly bee-sized -
Well, not terror really - more like slight unease, but it's the one creature on the block that I'd rather never see.
Jack jumpers. They've got me a couple of times and they hurt. Here they are starting a new nest. I'm 30cm away - well the camera is - and I'm standing very still.
Bull ants or bulldog ants also have painful stings and bites. Australia has about 90 species - the red bull ants here are quite casual when out wandering but near the nest are ferocious. It takes a bit to annoy the nocturnal carpenter ants during the day, but if you manage it, run away.
I'm so glad they're not quite that big. Came across this bit of trivia while reading up on bull ants. The Guinness Book of Records names the bull ant the World's Most Dangerous Ant (on the grounds that it's killed 3 people in the last 80 years).
More usefully, the block received a most welcome 12mm of rain over 48 hours. I'm tempted to plant out tubestock, but there's also a week of mid-30s to come. Hmm...
There was something slightly disturbing on the ground next to it -
Not that it's apparent, with a few days of 41c forecast going in to the weekend, but here are some sunny pics of a pair of Eastern Yellow Robins enjoying the bird bath this morning,
Now that I have your attention - it is Amaryllis belladonna of which I speak.
I've never planted any, but have seen them pop up in summer in two or three places, seemingly out of nowhere as the leaves are long gone by the time the rather showy pink flowers emerge. While I'm not a huge fan of large lily blooms it seemed churlish to get rid of them - same with the agapanthus that were inherited.
Having recently found out what they are called I did some reading and now I'm thinking that digging up their bulbs might be justified after all.
They're not an Australian native, although widely naturalised here, originating from Cape Province in South Africa. All parts of the plant are poisonous and, most importantly, they are listed as an environmental weed in South Australia, Victoria and WA. I've been unable to find out why that is so. I would think it unlikely that they crowd out native species - perhaps it's to do with their potential to get into pasture and poison livestock. If you do know, please share.
Remember the rather cute and unusual ant I showed you recently?
An expert from Museums Victoria determined it was a queen with vestiges of her wings apparent, but hard to tell species without seeing the male, who would likely look quite different. Well he was right. Following content rated PG!