about this blog



This blog tracks the ongoing changes of my garden, and the wildlife I try to attract to it. It's a nature blog. It contains my thoughts and musings about anything and everything to do with nature - gardening, book reviews, philosophy, travel, science, history, art, design, politics.
Catmint is my signature plant because it has all the qualities I value in a plant: resilience, beauty and the capacity to spread prolifically . Unfortunately it's not indigenous. If I was starting again I'd probably choose an indigenous plant.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

insects and spiders in my garden


  The Arthropoda phylum includes spiders, crustaceans, centipedes, millipedes and insects.  These characters all inhabit the garden, up till now barely noticed. Now I am making an effort to observe, identify and photograph these creatures.  Very big learning curve ...

Diamondback Moth (Plutella xylostella) 
This Diamondback Moth was on the wall of the bedroom. I thought it was just a piece of fluff until I looked closer. It is an agricultural pest, feeding on plants from Brassicaceae family (cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, etc) and ornamental flowers such as wallflower. I think it was looking for the kitchen to search for green vegetables, but got lost and ended up in the bedroom.

Common Garden Katydid (Caedicia simplex)
The Common Garden Katydid is found on the foliage of different plants. they eat leaves and flowers. they are usually well camouflaged, although in the case of this individual I think he would be safter on  a green leaf. Males attract females by rubbing their forewings together to produce a sound.

Gum Leaf Beetle ( Paropsis sp )
I have been noticing this little beetle for some time, and thought it was a different coloured ladybird. But no, it's a Gum Leaf beetle that eats leaves and lays its eggs on leaves or leaf stem. The larvae feed on the leaves, then drop to the ground to pupate in the soil.

Lily Leaf Beetle (Lilioceris nigripes)
This small beetle feeds on lilies and cycads. I found it sitting on the leaves of the Rainbow Fern.

Blowfly ( Amenia unknown species )
This fly is a lovely metallic blue colour. It feeds on nectar. Like most species of blowflies it lays its eggs on carrion or dung. Plenty of possum poo for it to thrive in my garden.

Leaf-curling Spider ( Phonognatha sp )
Leaf-curling spiders protect themselves by hiding inside a curled leaf held together with silk. They build a web around their retreat and feed on insects caught in the web. In this case the spider will be disappointed because what has been caught in the web is possum poo.

Garden Mantis (Orthodera ministralis)
The Garden Mantis is also known as the Green Mantid. Its habitat is among garden foliage, where it catches and eats small insects. They lay eggs in a foamy egg case called an ootheca, that has a woody appearance and is attached to a leaf, stem, wall or fence. They hatch out as small versions of the adult.

Dome Web Spider ( Cyrtophora moluccensis )
This spider builds its web between the branches of low trees and shrubs. It then sits and waits for tasty insects to get caught in the web.
Christmas Beetle ( Anoplognathus pallidicollis )
These beetles are scarab beetles that are most active in the warm summer months. They feed on eucalypt leaves. They lay their eggs in the soil, and develop for about a year feeding on organic matter and plant roots. The larvae pupate in late winter emerging as adults a few weeks later.

Psyllid. also known as Jumping Plant Louse
Psyllids are sap sucking bugs. When disturbed they jump or fly away. They are very host specific, feeding on plants from one or a few related families. In my garden they seem to like lots of plants. 



The Black House Spider is found on tree trunks, inside curled up leaves and around the house under the eaves, on window ledges and similar places. It eats insects such as moths, flies and beetles. The female never leaves her web unless she is forced to. When ready to mate males search for females in their webs, and pluck the web to attract her attention. This photo looks like a male visiting a female in her web.

Source of information: OzAnimals Australian wildlife website.

22 comments:

  1. Here in Texas we have oppossums, my backyard seems to have more than its fair share of 'oppossum droppings.' I'll have to read up on your possums and see the difference. We have mantis, lady bugs - but that first insect - amazing. I've never seen an insect like that. All my bugs are sleepy right now.

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  2. We have those ethereal moths with carefully packed away wings. Will gaze on the next arrival with more attention.

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  3. Great info. Loved seeing all your bugs! You have a lot. I should pay more attention to what bugs visit my garden. I'm always too interested in the flowers.

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  4. All look strange to me Catmint. The Diamondback Moth has the strangest form. I won't think that it's an insect also.

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  5. What an amazing selection you have! Your Diamondback Moth is really unusual, never seen anything remotely like that and what a beautiful colour your little Mantis is! I think taking photos for our blogs makes us much more aware of what is sharing our gardens with us!

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  6. You have some big insects there in your healthy garden. They seems to have heaps of fun in your garden.

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  7. Catmint, I enjoy your blog so much that I want to give you a Versatile Blogger Award. I've announced the award and linked to you on this post, which also has instructions on passing the award on if you wish to:

    http://theamateurweeder.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/surprise-from-becky.html

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  8. That moth is weird looking critter. It's interesting though how insects designs serve them so well.

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  9. Don't mind them except the spiders. You have some really big ones over there.

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  10. Hi CJ, I'd never seen an insect like that tiny moth before either. Not sure how different the 2 animals are apart from the letter O. Ours is a marsupial and females keep babies in their pouch.

    Dear Diana, they are very very small, I managed to get up really close to photograh it.

    Dear Holley, I've always been vaguely interested, but now it's getting serious.

    Dear pauline, it's mainly that I have worked out how to use the macro lens because they are mostly very very small.

    Dear Diana, I hope the garden makes them feel welcome, I think some have fun, others get eaten.

    Dear Lyn, thank you so much for including me on your honours list.

    Dear CM, I am becoming increasingly fascinated by the varied weird and wonderful insect designs.

    dear Hermes, when I looked up the info abut them it did say some have a nasty bite, but I have never been bitten by a spider, only by a wasps and a nasty large aggressive ant.

    thank you for your visits and comments,
    cheers
    catmint

    Hi steph, I'm sure your malaysian insects would look strange to me.

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  11. Hello there,

    Some of these bugs look to be straight out of Avatar:) Your world is so unique to me...one day, I will afford the plane ticket across the waters and visit your amazing country:)

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  12. Your diamond back moth was MOST unusual!! Is it "nice" or a pest? Thank you for sharing such a variety of fauna! :-)

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  13. This is a great article. How can we take care of our plants unless we know what's going on under the canopy? I think the garden mantis is cute!

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  14. dear RB, when you manage the plane ticket, you will be welcome to have free bed and board in Melb.

    Dear Shady, I don't think the Diamond Back Moth can be much of a pest, because there was only one, and also because it was the size of a tiny bit of fluff.

    dear Elaine, I agree, plants are not just for decoration, we need to see the world as an ecosystem and understand how everything affects everything else, including the most powerful species - us.

    cheers, catmint

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  15. Insects are one thing I surely don't miss in the winter. It looks like you have a bunch and I'm so glad you could identify them all. That's half the battle. Yikes on the diamondback moth-it looks the meanest for some reason.

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  16. Considering how much I love gardening, I'm really not that happy with insects - especially spiders! But I did find your post fascinating - maybe I can cope with insects when they're the other side of the world?!

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  17. What an interesting task to set yourself! I recognised all except the Diamondback Moth. It reminded me of some moths we found on a riverbank here. We didn't even recognise them as moths, but took some photos and later identified them as Plume Moths, genus Pterophoridae, but couldn't be sure of the species.

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  18. Catmint, if I recall correctly you went Cambodia before. They fry insects to eat there! Btw, I just got back from Cambodia. Great place to be ;-) Read my latest post.

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  19. Hi wendy, that's true, the more you look, the more you see. but i see with interest, not with fear or dread, although when I was young I was scared. Don' t know how I changed.

    dear tina, the poor diamond back moth is the teeniest creature - I dont' know why people think it looks mean.

    dear NG, you gave me a good laugh - I hope they don't migrate.

    Dear Lyn, I'm off to look up Plume moths. It's a fascinating game , insect id. isn't it?

    Hi Steph, I remember when I got back from Cambodia there was a locust plague and I kept thinking what a shame the insects aren't regarded as food. Now I'm off to read your latest post.

    cheers, catmint

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  20. Got a lot of good info from this page! All the best to your blog!

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  21. Your blog is really amazing with all the bits and pieces of information I can share with my friends and followers. Thanks and more power!

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  22. Diamond moth - gorgeous, like the praying mantis too. Found one yesterday in my garden, they just live happily. One time, one died in my very best expensive dress on the clothes line and tried to eat his way out, thus holes and the dress was no longer best! Wasn't happy. At present wanting to take photos of some bees.
    Well have to stop its breakfast time and need to get organised for work.

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I love to get feedback and comments, and getting to know other bloggers. I also appreciate corrections if you detect an error, because I'm not an expert, but a self taught enthusiastic amateur on a steep learning curve.

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