The Hakea Wine Moth.

In April it will be seven years since a very nice pink-hued Oenochroma vinaria first came to my moth sheet to be photographed, and since then it has become a familiar visitor. Not surprising, the larvae feed on plants in the Proteaceae family, hakeas and grevilleas for instance, many of which are in the garden, in addition to the Silky Oak street trees, Grevillea robusta. The adult moths vary in colour, as do the larvae, and the discovery of two very dark larvae on a Grevillea maccutcheonii prompted this post. Firstly, two colour forms of the adult, the first being my original photo.

oenochroma vinaria


oenochroma vinaria

This is the usual colour form of the larvae I find on our garden grevilleas and hakeas, in this case a Hakea Burrendong Beauty.

caterpillar

Grevillea maccutcheonii is a Western Australian grevillea, and is listed as critically endangered in the wild, more information here. Fortunately it is now in cultivation, and we have two plants in the garden, for pictures of foliage and flowers click here. The foliage is spiny and quite coarse in texture, similar to the other garden shrubs the species seems to favour, and the dark larvae were quite easy to see feeding on the pale green leaves.

caterpillar


caterpillar

When I disturbed this one while taking photos it took up what has to be a defensive posture, displaying the bright yellow markings and black horns. This type of behaviour is often indulged in by many species to advertise the fact that they are toxic and not good to eat, I don’t know if this is the case with vinaria or if it is just bluff.

defensive posture

One of the larvae has disappeared, either pupating or perhaps falling prey to a bird, I’m feeding and keeping the other captive to hopefully see the adult moth in the future.

Click pictures to enlarge.

A collection of odds and ends taken recently. Summer is robberfly time, there are many species, large and small, and I’ve photographed many that looked much the same until down at the river I found one quite different, dark with a pale-banded body, quite a handsome beast.

robberfly

While out looking for flowering bursaria I found two Hyacinth Orchids, Dipodium roseum, growing close together. They weren’t the best specimens I’ve found, but were very interesting. One was being visited by pollinating reed bees, and the other was more advanced with lots of seed heads. They had done their work well.

hyacinth orchid


pollinating bee

Mothing has been on hold for a while, but I found a very nice specimen of Destolmia lineata on the brick wall. This is a variable moth that probably needs more study. Notodontidae.

destolmia

In the garden there is a large Lemon-scented Tea-tree, Leptospermum petersonii. It has been in full flower and surrounded by a whirling of innumerable Yellow Flower-wasps, I may have just coined a new collective noun. They were not easy to photograph, but I persisted and eventually got two keepers, a male, and another with wingless female attached in a mating embrace.

flower wasp


flower wasps

A hot day, and the tiny Yellow-banded Dart was keeping its wings closed tightly to keep as cool as possible. Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

yellow-banded dart

And on the trunk of the Eucalyptus punctata, a spectacular small wasp of a different kind. It is an ichneumon, Gotra species, common name Banded Pupa Parasite Wasp, the larvae are parasites of moth pupae. My information from the Brisbane Insects site.

pupa wasp

It’s difficult to walk around the garden at night without blundering into garden orb-weaver webs. These striking large spiders have their big webs, some over half a metre diameter strung from trees, the clothes line, fences, buildings, etc. It’s fascinating to go out just after dark and watch them rebuilding their webs that they usually (but not always) take down by morning, leaving just the guy ropes ready for the next build. The spiders come in a variety of size, colour, and pattern, here is one of five that I photographed the other night, it’s poised expectantly like an angler waiting for a bite on a hand line. Fantastic animals, love ‘em.

orb-weaver

Click to enlarge.

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