By: Michael Fox

sophie-jocelyn-ryan-and-noel-24-sept-2016

Griffith Mates Sophie, Jocelyn and Ryan with Noel

 

Our Griffith Mates partners have again provided valuable for restoration of our Fox Gully Bushcare site. At the last event for 2016 we first checked what species can now be found in the Small Bird Habitat.

Griffith Mates participated in the 2015 National Tree Day planting of the Small Bird Habitat so it was great to be able to show the increase in species diversity in just one year.

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Painted Pine Moth Orgyia australis caterpillar

The Small Bird Habitat is an initiative to create the specialised habitat our small forest birds like Variegated Fair Wrens Malurus lamberti. These small insect eating birds are valuable partners in controlling pests in our backyards. Building an effective habitat requires attracting a diverse range of insect species to provide food.

Finding several Painted Pine Moth Orgyia australis caterpillars on site is a good excellent start.

 

 

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Lydia Lichen Moth Astura lydia

We inspected the Imperial Hairstreak Jalmenus evagoras butterfly caterpillars on Sickle Leaved Wattle Acacia falcata. I explained that the caterpillars are protected by “Kropotkin” ants – Small Meat Ant Iridomyrmex sp.

We also found a Lydia Lichen Moth Asura lydia with its curious eyelash like antlers.

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Sickle Leaved Wattle Acacia falcata

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Other excellent signs of habitat building progress was finding seed on Sickle Leaved Wattle Acacia falcataNative Sarsaparilla Hardenbergia violacea and Kangaroo Grass Themeda triandra which will provide food for seed eating birds.

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Ochna Blitz

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After inspecting the Small Bird Habitat progress we moved onto our Ochna Blitz. Mickey Mouse Plant Ochna serrulata is a deep rooted invasive garden plant with attractive red and green berries that are eaten by birds then spread into our bush habitat. The objective is to start breaking the weed cycle by collecting, bagging and dumping the seeds then poisoning the plant. Eradicating or at least reducing Ochna in the Reserve will take years but systematic clearing of smaller areas will progressively reduce the spread.

We look forward to partnering with Griffith Mates again in 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

https://megoutlook.org/2016/04/24/griffith-mates-lantana-busters/

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Join Griffith Mates for the Ochna Blitz Challenge!

Saturday 24 September 8am to 11am

Map

2016 National Tree Day planting

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Location: Junction of Geebung and Federation Tracks (behind green water reservoir)

We will do a walk through the National Tree Day planting and some light weeding then move onto the Mickey Mouse Plant Ochna serrulata.

The planting site is looking great with trees and vines planted in 2015 now flowering and producing seed. A Sickle Leaved Wattle Acacia falcata is already hosting caterpillars of the Imperial Hairstreak Jalmenus evagoras butterfly.

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The caterpillar is protected by “Kropotkin” ants – Small Meat Ant Iridomyrmex sp. The ants provide protection in return for sugary fluids secreted by caterpillar. Imperial Hairstreaks will only return to breed where both caterpillar food plants and the ants are present.
Kropotkin is a reference to Russian biologist Peter Kropotkin who proposed a concept of evolution based on “mutual aid” between species helping species from ants to higher mammals survive.

The combination of rain and clearing Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidensis means the Ochna is thriving and it is covered in flowers and seeds. However, the rain also means must easier to pull our either by hand or Treepopper.

 

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Blue Tiger - 5 Jan 2014

Blue Tiger feeding on Blackthorn nectar

By: Michael Fox

Blue Tiger butterflies Tirumala hamata are one of the most beautiful found in Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve and this has been amazing season for all butterflies as reported by ABC News – Butterflies booming in south-east Queensland

Blue Tiger butterfly caterpillars feed on only three plant species, none of which are found in the Reserve. Reference: Butterfly host plants of south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales (2013) – Moss, J. T.

Fortunately the adult Blue Tigers are less choosy, visiting the Reserve to feed on nectar of the Blackthorn Bursaria spinosa.

Imperial Hairstreak - pupation - 2 Feb 2015

Imperial Hairstreak caterpillar forming pupa

Watch carefully to see the butterfly’s proboscis flicking in and out the reach the nectar deep in the flower.

Imperial Hairstreak - roosting - 4 Feb 2015

Imperial Hairstreak roosting at night

Imperial Hairstreak Jalmenus evagoras butterflies are breeding in the Reserve with caterpillars feeding on Early Black Wattle Acacia leiocalyx. Imperial Hairstreak caterpillar and chrysalis also depend on attendant “Kropotkin” ants – Small Meat Ant Ants Iridomyrmex sp. which provide protection in return for sugary fluids secreted by caterpillar. Click on photo to enlarge.

Last night I learned something new about Imperial Hairstreak butterflies, they roost at night on their caterpillar food trees. At great time to get a close up photo as they slow moving in the cool night air. I was helping Helen Schwencke – Earthling Enterprises, as she collected Acacia leaves for the Hairstreak butterflies she is raising for her life-cycle research. We were both surprised to find the adult butterflies roosting on the same trees.