about this blog



I started this blog in 2008. It started mainly as a way of tracking the evolution of my dry garden, and that led to an interest in photography and in the creatures that live in the garden. It's still about the garden and wildlife, but now my passion is thinking about how we humans can learn to co-exist with wild animals and plants, especially in urban areas.

Monday, 28 May 2012

at home with three insects and a spider




There are an astonishing 22,000 species of Australian moths and only half have been described. This one, Macrobathra euryleuca, was in the house but I have also seen several in the garden. They are tiny, with delicate markings.


Sac Spider (Cheiracanthium mordax)


This mysterious spider was wedged in a corner in the bathroom, inside a kind of cocoon. Unfortunately, soon after I took this photo,  C. was cleaning the bathroom and wiped it away. But once I managed to id. it, I changed my mind and thought C. did us all a favour!


The Sac Spider is a vagrant hunter, meaning that instead of using a web, it roams around looking for prey. Its silken retreat or sac is for resting during the day, depositing its eggs and guarding them. The bite of this spider can cause local pain and ulceration, nausea, faintness and headache! Lucky it didn't bite C. I always suspected housework was a dangerous business.

Fly - Unknown Species


This may be, probably is, a common old, ordinary, Housefly (Musca domestica). But I think this one looks a bit different, more elegant somehow than the common garden variety. Its legs seem longer and its body thinner than the usual Housefly. 


So far as I know there is no species called Elegant Fly (Musca elegans) . There is a Long Legged Fly (Austrosciapus connexus)  that has a metallic green appearance like this one has. But the Long Legged Fly is metallic green all over and this one's greenness is limited to its head. 


So in the meantime I will call this fly an Unknown Species. Any help with id - even confirming that it's an ordinary Housefly after all - will be appreciated. 

 German Cockroach (Blattella germanica) 

This cockroach is not a native Australian cockroach, but an introduced species, originally from Africa. Here you see it taking a rest on the side of my desk, just asking to be included in the blog. 

Although cockroaches are scorned and feared in our hygiene-obsessed society, some research has shown that although they like to live in dirt, cockroaches clean themselves fastidiously all the time, just like cats.  Their faeces, though, does contain allergens that can affect asthma sufferers, so we're probably better without them.

17 comments:

  1. I always knew housework was to be avoided, bad for my health! Little creepy crawlies are fascinating when you get close and personal. Can't help with the identification of your fly, but obviously a super model with those long thin legs!

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    1. Hi Pauline, love the supermodel tag!

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  2. LOL:) Yes. I have always believe this....housework is indeed very dangerous work!!! When you wrote Sac Spider, a warning bell went off inside my head.....as I remembered hearing about this one. We have two spiders here that can cause human harm....the Black Widow can kill younger people while the Brown Recluse is probably the nastiest......if it bites you, the skin around the bite disinegrates and has to be medically treated. I had a friend bitten by this one and it wasn't pretty:) I'd say don't do any housework, but then you'd have more of those German Cockroaches!:) We have them here during our rain season....they are nasty buggers. Hope you are well.

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    1. thanks Chris, not so well, but compared to your friend with the spider bite, probably fantastic!

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  3. I remember when growing up in the 50s our next door neighbour emigrated to Australia, she loved it but couldn't cope with the beasties. They only managed to stay for a year.

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    1. I used to be scared of spiders and insects as a kid, but now I am just fascinated by them. Even the dangerous ones. The trick is not to cuddle them.

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  4. Nice one Catmint I like your pics. I found a redback on our green bin tonight. Sadly he will be removed tomorrow as I dont want anyone being bitten when they are putting the bins out!

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    1. unusual to find a rredback out in the open like that. But I wouldn't take chances either.

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  5. Insects - best enjoyed in pictures LOL... and yours are divine!

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    1. thanks c and s, you're at quite a safe distance I should think. (lol)

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  6. Oh now I know the one I saw while cleaning up the garden was German cockroach. We were a bit puzzled by the wings because it is not a familiar cockroach we see in the tropics. I thought it was a mutant.

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    1. most of the ones outside in the garden I think are natives.

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  7. I actually saw a metallic green fly in my garden today. It was a beautiful dark aqua green which is why it caught my eye. Mini beasts can be extremely interesting!!

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    1. I've seen a metallic green fly - so beautiful. I have become extremely fascinated by these mini beasties. And they're usually much easier to photograph than birds.

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  8. Nice captures but I'll have to admit to scrolling down to the fly. I have arachnophobia you see. As for the fly, I don't think it is a regular fly. On top of the differences you mentioned, the coloration seems lighter too.

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  9. thanks for braving the post Bom. I think it's an unusual fly too, and as time goes on i am getting quite fond of it. cheers, catmint

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  10. That Cockroach is a Shining Cockroach, not a german cochroach.

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