Jan van Kessel, Study of Butterflies, Moths, Spiders, and Insects, c. 1655, oil on panel. Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
I went for a bikeride out in to the countryside and neglected to bring my camera. Luckily I had my phone along, and like the old saying goes; “the best camera is the one you have”.
1: Some form of longhorn beetle
2: A grasshopper and ambush bug
3: A salt marsh moth caterpillar
Razor Grinder Cicada (Henicopsaltria eydouxii)
… is a large species of cicada native to eastern Australia. Predominantly brown in colour, it is found in wet sclerophyll forest in December and January and is quite common in Brisbane.
Male razor grinders sing in large groups on the main trunks of tall eucalypts, especially spotted gum (Corymbia maculata). They usually silently feed throughout the afternoon, and then groups call at maximum volume around dusk…
(read more: Wikipedia) (photos: Toby Hudson)
What is a dragonfly?
Dragonflies are insects of the order Odonata. Like other insects, they have six legs, three body segments and two pairs of wings. Their distinctive features include large multifaceted eyes, large wings with the forewings larger than the hindwings, and an elongated abdomen.
After mating, the female dragonfly lays her eggs in water, usually on aquatic plants. The eggs hatch into nymphs, which makes up the majority of the life history of a dragonfly. Nymphs are predatory, feeding on invertebrate larvae and even vertebrates such as tadpoles and small fish. The gills of a nymph are actually located inside its rectum, and it can propel itself by expelling water from the anus.
The larval stage may last for up to five years, until the nymph undergoes metamorphosis into the adult form. The nymph emerges from the water and climbs up a reed or other plant. It begins to breathe air, and the exoskeleton splits from behind the head. Once it is fully extricated from the old skin, and the wings have stiffened, the dragonfly is ready to fly.
Adult dragonflies can fly at speeds of up to 60mph (97kph), but they don’t hold the record for fastest flying insect. They are extremely accomplished hunters, and it has been estimated that they have a 95% success rate. They prey mainly on mosquitoes, but will also catch bees, wasps, and flies.
Photo: Aeshna juncea by Tony Hisgett.