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The Box – The Young and the Restless

December 1, 2018

Grasshopper instar

After the ’09 fires a grove of Yellow Box saplings started growing on our property. Being a mecca for young invertebrates and therefore birds and other creatures I began monitoring the fauna that lived there. Now the saplings are trees and hard to access. So recently I found three Grey Boxes (Eucalyptus microcarpus) that have just started their life. Only knee high they make it easy to check for critters and I can sit down and photograph – a real luxury. Once again I am going to see what lives in these very young trees. I will call this series The Box, after a TV series broadcast when I was young which I was never allowed to watch because of something that they now call Adult Themes.

Gumtree Hopper instar

Many insects mature through a series of stages called instars. As the instars grow they becomes too big for their external skeletons (exoskeletons) and therefore have to moult and form new, bigger ones. This is called incomplete metamorphosis. In most cases the instars look like smaller versions of the adult, just without wings. The wings appear after the final moult.

Spring is the time when insects lay eggs and the young hatch. It is also the time when eucalyptus trees are growing the tender new shoots on which some of these instars feed. A close look at the box trees reveals a veritable nursery of young instars, some of which are pictured. The adult cockroach can be seen HERE. To date each insect has not moved from the plant it was first observed on.

Austral Ellipsidion Cockroach (Ellipsidion australe) instar

Maybe they become restless when they are teenagers.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Susan permalink
    December 3, 2018 10:38 am

    I found the above cockroach instar yesterday as I pruned the prickly moses wattle!

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