By: Michael Fox

The Australia China Youth Association (ACYA) Discovery Team joined me again on Saturday morning to take on a forest of Guinea Grass Megathyrsus maximus var. maximus

Guinea Grass, a 2m pasture grass introduced from Africa, is now a common and widespread weed of crops, orchards, vineyards, gardens and bushland. Large fast growing non-native grasses like Guinea Grass increase fuel loads and bushfire frequency in urban bushland.

The key to eradicating Guinea Grass is removing the seeds before they are spread by being eaten birds or stuck to the fur of other animals.

The ACYA Discovery Team tackled the forest with a vengeance, first removing and binning seed heads before removing the grass and putting into piles to compost onsite. It seemed every time I looked around there would be someone with a huge bouquets of Guinea Grass seed heads that would impress a florist. It will take another couple of seasons to get the Guinea Grass under control but each time we nail the seeds there is less work to do next season.

Acacia Shield bug - Alcaeus varicornis - 11 May 2019

Acacia Shield Bug nymph

 

 

 

The Discovery Team title comes from the amazing diversity of wildlife found whenever we work together.

Two species found on Saturday are new to our database: Flora and Fauna of Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve: Insects, Beetles, Bugs and Slugs.

Acacia Shield Bug nymph Alcaeus varicornis

Green Strip Leaf Beetle - Calomela pallida - 11 May 2019

Green Strip Leaf Beetle

 

 

 

 

 

 

Green Strip Leaf Beetle Calomela pallida

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Discovery Team find so many new species that sometimes I can’t find an id immediately: like this pretty moth caterpillar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Team is not scared of anything. Reanna was so happy to find this discarded snake skin. Perhaps she may have been a little slower to collect the skin before it was discarded.

 

 

 

Variable Ladybird Beetle - Coelophora inaequalis - larvae - 11 May 2019

Variable Ladybird Beetle larvae

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Team are interested in everything, so when I found the larvae of a Variable Ladybird Beetle Coelophora inaequalis they were fascinated to learn that Ladybirds come from a larvae which also eats Aphids and other garden pests.

 

Lance-leaved Rattlepod - Crotalaria lanceolata - weed - 11 May 2019

Enter a caption

 

 

 

The well named Lance-leaved Rattlepod Crotalaria lanceolata (weed) also appealed when I demonstrated the potential as a musical instrument.

 

 

Champions - 11 May 2019

Thanks again to the ACYA Discovery Team. Looking forward to welcoming you back next semester to help us discover more wildlife species living in Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve.

By: Michael Fox

Clairvaux Bushcarers - 14 May 2018

Clairvaux Bushcarers

Our new partnership with Clairvaux MacKillop College is off to a great start. Clairvaux Bushcarers joined us last Monday to help prepare the 2018 National Tree Day site.

The team worked so hard removing weeds and moving branches to make the site safe, our Tuesday Bushcare group was able to finalise the preparation ready for spreading mulch.

 

Proud Weed Busters - 14 May 2018

Proud Weed Busters

It was a real pleasure to work with the students, a bit like herding cats, but still a real pleasure.

Over fifty years ago Frederick Herzberg identified recognition and a sense of achievement as two key factors in helping individuals build their motivation. Watching the students’ level of engagement and energy grow as they worked was an excellent example of Hertzberg’s research in action.

Variable Ladybird Beetles - Coelophora inaequalis - 14 May 2018

Variable Ladybird Beetle

Removing huge clumps of Guinea Grass Megathyrsus maximus really does provide a great sense of achievement and by removing and bagging the seed heads dramatically reduces weed regrowth.

The Clairvaux Bushcarers also had a wonderful time finding “bugs” for me to photograph. Like this Variable Ladybird Beetle Coelophora inaequalis.

26-spotted Potato Ladybird - Epilachna vigintisexpunctata - 14 May 2018

26-spotted Potato Ladybird

 

The students also found  26-spotted Potato Ladybird Epilachna vigintisexpunctata which is a new addition to our Flora & Fauna of Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve.

 

 

Variable Ladybird Beetles - Coelophora inaequalis - larve - 14 May 2018

Variable Ladybird Beetle larvae

 

 

I was also able to introduce the students to the strange looking Ladybird Beetle larvae.

 

Variable Ladybird Beetle Coelophora inaequalis larvae.

Common Spotted Ladybird - Harmonia conformis - larva - 14 May 2018

Common Spotted Ladybird Beetle

 

 

 

Common Spotted Ladybird Beetle Harmonia conformis larvae.

 

Common Assassin Bug - Pristhesancus plagipennis - 5th Instar - 14 May 2018

Common Assassin Bug 5th Instar

 

 

 

 

 

Common Assassin Bug Pristhesancus plagipennis 5th Instar. As the name suggests Assassin Bugs are pest controllers for your garden feeding on spiders and other insects.

Common Methana - Methana marginalis - large nymph - native cocoroach - 14 May 2018

Common Methana

 

 

 

 

Common Methana Methana marginalis large nymph. A native cockroach, the Common Methana are great recyclers turning leaves into soil and food for lizards and birds.

Bark Cockroach - Laxta sp. - 14 May 2018

Bark Cockroach

 

 

 

 

 

Bark Cockroach Laxta sp. are another curious native cockroach working hard to recycle leaf litter.

 

 

Yellow-shouldered Stout Hover Fly - Simosyrphus grandicornis - 14 May 2018

Yellow-shouldered Stout Hover Fly

 

 

 

 

Yellow-shouldered Stout Hover Fly Simosyrphus grandicornis 

 

 

Clairvaux Bushwalkers - Weed Busting - 10 May 2018

Creeping Lantana

 

 

 

 

The Clairvaux Bushwalkers helped the previous week, removing Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidenses* (the asterisk * is used to identify non-native species).

 

Small Dusky Blue - Candalides erinus - topside - 10 May 2018

Small Dusky Blue butterfly feeding

 

 

 

 

 

Small Dusky Blue Candalides erinus butterfly feeding on nectar from the flower of a Purple Fleabane Cyanthillium cinereum. Look for the proboscis: a hollow drinking straw the butterfly unrolls. Natives like the Purple Fleabane are returning as Creeping Lantana is removed.

 

 

 

 

 

On Friday we hosted the Clairvaux Scientists who checked water quality in Mimosa Creek.

 

 

 

Checking acidy - 18 May 2018

Acid Test

 

 

The water sample was then tested with litmus paper which established a healthy neutral water.

 

 

Fiery Skimmer Dragonfly - Orthetrum villosovittatum - 18 May 2018

Fiery Skimmer Dragonfly

 

 

We also spotted a new dragonfly species to add to the species list. Fiery Skimmer Dragonfly Orthetrum villosovittatum

 

Thank you to all the Clairvaux students and staff.

I am looking forward to growing a long partnership restoring Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve and learning environmental skills.