Noisy Miner - feeding chicks2 - Roly C - 16 Oct 2015

Noisy Miner feeding chicks in nest

By: Michael Fox

Some species, like the Noisy Miner Manorina melanocephala, are quite happy to share our urban environment. These Miners like to make their nest in the protective wire basket on the lights. Very clever … protection from bigger birds and warmth at night for the eggs.

Now they just need food for the chicks. Nectar feeders, Noisy Miners are honeyeaters, still need protein from insects for their growing chicks.

So it was interesting to have Helen Schwencke, Earthling Enterprises, join us for Roly Chapman Reserve Bushcase last Friday.

Monarch Danaus plexippus - caterpillar - Roly C - 16 Oct 2015

Monarch butterfly caterpillar feeding on Red-headed Cotton Bush

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We found a number of fascinating and photogenic insects in the Reserve.

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Sometimes environmental weeds are the place to look for some of our most attractive insects. The milkweed species, Red-headed Cotton Bush Asclepias curassavica is a favourite of the Monarch or Wanderer butterfly Danaus plexippus.

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Small Green-banded Blue - Psychonotis caelius - caterpillar2 - Roly C - 16 Oct 2015

Small Green-banded Blue caterpillar on Red Ash

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One way to find micro-locals is to look for chewed leaves. An expert like Helen Schwencke can even tell what insect she is looking for just from the pattern of chewing on a leaf.

Caterpillars of the Small Green-banded Blue Psychonotis caelius feed on leaves of the Red Ash/Soapy Ash Alphitonia excelsa. The caterpillar’s lime green colour blends perfectly with the underside of the leaves.

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Native Hibiscus Hibiscus heterophyllus

The name Soapy Ash comes from the effects of saponins on the leaves which create a foaming soapy action. A useful bush soap.

The attractive Native Hibiscus Hibiscus heterophyllus growing in the Pollinator Link display gardens are fast growing and good plants for attracting food for insect eating birds.

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Small Brown-black Leaf Beetle - Nisotra bicolorata - Roly C - 16 Oct 2015

Small Brown-black Leaf Beetle on Native Hibiscus

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We found a number of Small Brown-black Leaf Beetle Nisotra bicolorata feeding on Native Hibiscus.

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Ladybird Coelophora inaequalis - wings - 16 Oct 2015

Ladybird Coelophora inaequalis

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Seeing a Ladybird Coelophora inaequalis spreading its wings is something special. The pattern of dots is a key to identification of Ladybird species.

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Milkweed Aphid - Aphis nerii - 16 Oct 2015 crop

Infestation of Milkweed Aphid Aphis nerii

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Ladybirds are particularly valuable for control of infestations of Aphids.

Aphid infestations can cause massive damage as they suck juice from plants. Ladybirds are particularly valuable for garden pest control as both adult and larvae Ladybirds are predators.

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Sawfly - 16 Oct 2015

Sawfly – species not identified

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We found this beautiful Sawfly adult feeding on Sandpaper Fig Ficus opposita. We have not identified the particular species of Sawfly. I have sent the photo to the Queensland Museum Ask a question team for identification.

Sawfly larvae are curious looking caterpillars that feed on native plants.

The Sandpaper Fig is often called the Supermarket Tree. It attracts birds, can be used for shade, food, medicine, tools, fire and string to make nets and traps.

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