at the birdbath - (all of these birdies, except the Crimson Rosella, will eat lerps).
Managed to find the right people to ask about psyllid infestation - Kym, from the Dept. of Environment and Water passed my enquiry on to Nick from Federation University Australia and he says they look like Cardiaspina densitexta. These psyllids are partial to pink gums (Eucalyptus fasciculosa). While two infestations in the same year is unusual historically there have been two prolonged outbreaks recorded - 1914-1922 and 1956-1963. These resulted in widespread pink gums deaths. Here are some of the nymphs that I scraped off a single leaf (they're barely visible to the naked eye).
I hope that the small birds I can hear clicking away in the pink gum canopy are eating the psyllids as well as the sugary lerps (which the insect constructs from its poo).
- 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 -