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It’s in the name

August 31, 2020

A lot of fauna derive their common names from either the location where they are found or their appearance, or both, for example the Crimson Rosella, Blue-banded Bee, Eastern Yellow Robin. A few however are named after what they do. This is very useful when trying to look for them in the bush. With Spring almost upon us some of these ‘doing’ named critters are acting true to type.

uraba lugens DSCN9072One of the most delicate artefacts one can find when walking through the bush is a perfect skeleton of a gum leaf with all the veins intact. It should be no surprise given the theme of this blog that one of the architects of this is the caterpillar of the Gum-leaf Skeletoniser Moth (Uraba lugens). The adult moth lays between 100 and 200 eggs, twice a year. The resulting caterpillars (see picture above) eat only the surface layer of a leaf on both sides before moving on to the next leaf, leaving the gum-leaf veins.

z Eucalyptus Tip-wilter Bug (Amorbus sp.) DSCN6408Another critter with a name suggesting its habit is the Eucalyptus Tip-wilter Bug (Amorbus sp.). These insects are Hemipteran i.e. equipped with sucking mouthparts for extracting sap. In Spring gum trees start to develop new shoots. Both the adults and instars of the Tip-wilter Bug attack these shoots extracting the sap and causing the new growth to shrivel and die.

I suggest we start renaming some of our local fauna. How about a ‘Destroying the windscreen rubber of your car’ Cockatoo and ‘Poo all over the patio’ Swallow.

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