Birdwatching in Wagga Wagga

March 29, 2010, 11:56 pm
Filed under: General, Observations | Tags: , , ,

An earlier post (Willans Hill in Summer, January 5) listed a number of insect species found in the Wagga area. The present post can be considered a continuation of that one. Where possible the insects illustrated have been identified to the level of species, but identification is not always straightforward. Of the many resources I have used, the Brisbane Insects website is probably the most useful (I take the blame for any incorrect identifications, of course).

This is likely to be the first of many posts on the insect fauna of the area.

The Tailed Emperor is a large and beautiful butterfly in the family Nymphalidae. It is probably not a permanent resident here, but vagrants have been known to reach southern Victoria and south-eastern South Australia. The larva is pictured here on a Kurrajong (Brachychiton populneus), one of the species’ many larval foodsources, on Willans Hill. The “horns” are purely for intimidation: the caterpillar is completely harmless.

The larva of the Privet Hawk Moth is a large, robust and strikingly patterned caterpillar that – despite its name – is equally at home on a variety of introduced garden plants. The individual photographed was seen in a suburban garden, apparently feeding on the leaves of the Purple Trumpet Vine (Podranea ricasoliana), a South African import. Privet (Ligustrum spp.) is a significant garden escapee. Two species, L. sinense and L. vulgare, are declared noxious weeds in NSW.

Wasp Moths belong to the Ctenuchinae, a subfamily of the Arctiidae (Tiger Moths). There are a number of similar Amata species, which cannot be easily distinguished. A number of individuals were seen recently in Livingstone National Park.

The Tiger Lichen Moth is also a member of the Arctiidae, this time of the subfamily Lithosiinae (Lichen Moths). Once again, several individuals were seen in Livingstone.

This stocky, distinctive moth was seen on Willans Hill and at Mundwaddery Cemetery. It belongs to the family Notodontidae. Its face is obscured by a dense mane of fibrous hairs:

The Diamond Beetle, also known as the Botany Bay Diamond Weevil, was the first Australian insect to be formally described. It is apparently very common around Sydney but is less so here.

Most ladybird species are considered to be important control agents of crop and garden pests. The Twentyeightspotted Ladybird (also referred to as Epilachna 28-punctata and Epilachna cucurbitae), on the other hand, is a leaf-eater, and is also highly prolific. The larva is bizarre:

A total of fourteen mature individuals were seen on a single zucchini plant.

Paropsis variolosa resembles a large ladybird. It feeds exclusively on the leaves of Eucalyptus species. This individual was photographed on Willans Hill.

This Longicorn (“long-horned”) Beetle was photographed on a Kangaroo Thorn (Acacia paradoxa) shrub in Livingstone National Park. The precise identity of the beetle is uncertain, but it may be a species of Platyomopsis.

The Green Potato Bug is – like the Twentyeightspotted Ladybird – a common resident of suburban gardens. It feeds on tomatoes, potatoes and other cultivated plants.

I have added the Black-Faced Woodswallow (Artamus cinereus) to the birdlist for Wagga Wagga. This brings the total number of species recorded over the past twelve months to 157, exactly 150 of which are native.


12 Comments so far
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Your photography is inspiring.

Comment by Bill Mc

Thank you. I’m very happy to know that this little hobby of mine might mean something to another person.

Comment by wwdavid

I’m a big fan of insects… Especially ladybugs!

Comment by Bugg

There are quite a few ladybug species around here – I’m sure there will be more photographs up here before long.

Comment by wwdavid

What an absolutely beautiful and important website! I live close to Willans Hill and see many of these birds in our garden; I will be looking more closely at the plants and bugs and other things when walking up there!

Comment by Donna

I live just on the edge of Willans Hill, so I have plenty of opportunities to explore it. There was almost no available information on the hill when I started out – which is why I created this site. I’m hoping to put together a little guide to the plants of the hill (I count just over 100 native species, including seven orchids) and post it up here. That may be of interest to you.

Thanks for stopping by!

Comment by wwdavid

Hi David,
Have spotted the Red-browed firetail in person and it is definitely not the ones I first saw. Coming into the drive this afternoon there were five little firetails feeding in the long grass and they were definitely not the Red-browed. I am now convinced they are ‘Beautiful Firetails’ – we have both visiting. Leonie

Comment by Leonie White

Thanks muchly for your website – I just spent the last week in Uranquinty and was just settling down to ID the 600-odd photos of insects I saw around my grandparent’s yard – your work here will cut a few weeks off THAT project, I’m sure 🙂

Comment by Drhoz

I believe your leaf beetle is paropsisterna sp. and not paropsis variolosa. Check you Brisbane insect site and this difference is clear .Martin

Comment by Martin Lagerwey

Given how many revisions there have been of the Paropsine leaf beetles, I wouldn’t be surprised. Peltaschema has been through at least four name changes.

Comment by Drhoz

The longicorn beetle on Acacia paradoxa is indeed a species of the former genus Platyomopsis, which has been merged into Rhytiphora. It looks a lot like Rhytiphora mista.

Comment by Kimberi Pullen

Thank you for posting all this information with such beautiful photos. I think I have a Green Garden Looper in my organic garden in Sydney and was wondering if it changes into a butterfly before all the Noisy Miner eat them up.

Comment by net2323

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