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Tales from the woodpile #5

August 1, 2014

The results are clear. The most popular subjects on this blogsite are the warm and fuzzy ones. Phascogales, rakalis and owls are in. Creepy-crawlies that live in woodpiles are out. Having said that, here’s another Woodpile blog.

IMG_0503For all you fuzzy-philes, this picture (left) taken at our woodpile should satisfy you (or maybe not!). The Red Fox or European Fox (Vulpes vulpes) needs no introduction. Unfortunately they are a common sight in our district and there is a family of them, including four cubs, in our woodpile.

On a less cuddly note, a recent excursion to the woodpile turned up this Australian Wood Cockroach (Panesthia sp.), pictured below, panesthina cribratadifferent from the species of cockroach previously reported. The Aussie wood cockroach lives in family groups in rotten logs and the females gives birth to live nymphs. The families tell each other apart using chemical markers. Wood cockroaches are a key agent in the breakdown of wood, using specialised amoebae in their gut to digest the cellulose. Some species of Panesthia are wingless, but others, like the one pictured, shed their wings. If you have a close look at the thorax you can see the wing stumps (click image for larger view).

These wood cockroaches are not warm and fuzzy, but then again they do not spend their lives decimating native wildlife.


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