12 de junio de 2022

Journal 4

3:30pm - 5:00pm / Wednesday the 8th of June, 2022
Mount Tibrogargan, Glasshouse Mountains
We're really getting the hang of this citizen science entomology! Everyone's eager to get started, we get our gear organised, reconnect with each other and can't even leave our meeting point without finding bugs. Seven of us set out and chose a different path this time and were rewarded by finding a totally different range of bugs from our last visit. We are constantly looking for clues as to where to find bugs. We take notice of the bark on trees, spider webs, we look under leaves on trees as well as those that have fallen to the ground. Rotting sticks and logs can also have surprises. Bugs are much harder to find in cool weather however our observation skills are getting better each time we venture out.
One of the prettiest bugs found was a Mirror-ball Spider (Genus Thwaitesia). It shone just like a golden mirror-ball and there were cries of delight when it was found. Other bugs we found were a Treehopper species (Genus Aconophora), a Golden-tailed Spiny Ant (Polyrhachis ammon), a species of Ground hopper from the Subfamily Cladonotinae, a Planthopper species (Genus Raivuna), a Net-casting spider (Family Deinopidae), a Torpedo Bug (Siphanta acuta), a Melaleuca Sawfly (Lophyrotoma Zonalis), a Steelblue Lady Beetle (Halmus chalybeus) , Termites (Genus Nasutitermes), a Lacewing Larvae (Subfamily Myiodactylinae), a Crane fly (Gynoplistia Bella) and newly hatched Spiny Leaf Stick Insect (Extatosoma tiaratum). A total 13 species.
We also found a Cordyceps, a species of fungi, that had parasitised a spider and taken over its tissue. For a while the spider lives in a zombie-like state and eventually dies when the fruiting bodies of the fungus burst through the exoskeleton and releases spores to complete its life cycle.

Ingresado el 12 de junio de 2022 por shechosetofly shechosetofly | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

28 de mayo de 2022

Journal 3

With 12 Citizen Science Entomologists in our group we set out on the circuit track at Mount Tibrogargan, Glasshouse Mountains on the 25/5/22. The weather was cloudy and we were lucky to have just missed the rain. Our aim was to collect insects and record our findings. Our equipment included specimen jars, a beat sheet, magnifying glasses, hand lenses, ultra violet torch and sticks for turning over rotting logs and leaf litter.
Walking slowly along the circuit track we began to 'tune in' and connect with nature. It was then that observations of insects began to be made. We collected specimens in our jars. What a wonderful feeling to share in the discovery of a creature that is part of the ecosystem. To guess or know what it is, to hypothesise about what it's doing, what it eats, what eats it and how it lives it's life.
We walked to a clearing in the forest overlooking the majestic Mount Tibrogargan. This is where we started having a good look at the insects we had collected in our specimen jars along the way. Lots of small spiders were found. We guessed the species of some of them, took photos, made notes and looked forward to getting confirmed identifications from iNaturalist.
At the end of the session and back at our starting point, dusk was upon us when we used an ultra violet torch to find some millipedes. A magical moment to see such a beautiful creature glowing. Did you know that bioluminescence in millipedes is caused by the reaction of a photoprotein that uses magnesium and molecules that contain oxygen.They use it as a defence mechanism.
To date our observations that have been confirmed on iNaturalist include : the Saint Andrew's Cross Spider (Argiope keyserlingi) , an Austral Ellipsidion (Ellipsidion australe), a Green Jumping Spider (Mopsus Mormon), a Badge Huntsman Spider (Genus Neosparassus), an Eastern Bush Orbweaver (Plebs eburnus), an Amorous alternatus, a millepede (Genus Spirobolellus) and although not an insect a Crimson Foot Semi-slug (Stanisicarion freycineti) was also found.
Others that don't have a confirmed identification yet include a Northern Grass Pyrgomorph (Attractomorpha similis), two different species of Orbweavers, a White Cedar Moth, a Garden Jumping Spider, a Spittlebug, a Cricket and a caterpillar of the Genus Orgyia.
That's a total of 17 species found!
For more information about all of the species we found you can use iNaturalist. Go to your Home Screen - select Project (bottom right) - select Bug Club - you will then see all of the insects we have recorded over the last 3 Bug Club meetings. Select a species - select the right arrow next to the name of of the insect - you will then see more photos, a distribution map and a "More Info on iNaturalist.org" tab which will take you to the iNaturalist website where there is even more information.
This journal entry is written from my perspective. You could write your own journal and it would reflect your experience. You could also draw or paint the insects we find.

So much to learn, so many more to find!!

Ingresado el 28 de mayo de 2022 por shechosetofly shechosetofly | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

19 de mayo de 2022

Journal 2

The buzz started in the carpark at the Wildflower Walk / Ferny Forest, Landsborough, meeting and greeting 11 ready and willing amateur entomologists. We walked through the forest to a cleared area with picnic tables and set up a base to work from.

Our gear kit included our special "Bug Club Citizen Science Entomologist" lanyards with hand lens, 2 handmade "Beat Sheets" and sticks, a butterfly net, collection jars, a microscope, magnifying glasses and journals.

Our aim for the afternoon was freestyle insect observations using our Beat Sheets, butterfly net and by carefully looking under rotting logs and sticks.

We demonstrated how to use a "Beat Sheet" and explained that it requires you to use a stick to "Beat" at vegetation while holding the sheet underneath to collect any insects that fall out. The sheet is then laid on the ground and specimen jars are used to carefully collect the insects making sure they aren't harmed.
We set out looking for insects and took our finds back to our base to share and document our finds with each other.

When we made observations, we used iNaturalist to help us make identifications and record them in our "Bug Club" iNaturalist Project. We let iNaturalist help us guess the species and then over the next few days we wait to get our identifications confirmed. We also made lists in our journals, counted the number of species found and drew pictures.

There were lots of spiders collected and the star of the afternoon was the Four-spined Spiny Orbweaver (Gasteracantha quadrispinosa) which is distinctively shaped and coloured yellow to red. Our specimen was yellow. It builds a vertical orb web approximately 1.5 m across and hangs in the centre of the web to wait for prey (Wikipedia).
Another very interesting observation was the Lacewing Larva or "Junk Bug" that carries the remains of their prey on their backs as a way to camaflouge themselves.

iNaturalist has so far confirmed the Green Jumping Spider (Mopsus mormon), the Stretch Spider (Genus Tetragnatha) which can run over water, and an Entelegyne Spider.

Other insects observed but not yet confirmed were a Pygmy Grasshopper, a Long Green Crab Spider, a Milky Flower Spider, a spider from the Subfamily Salticinae, a Brown Shield Bug, a Lacewing Larva (Junk Bug) and a Green Garden Looper caterpillar.

Satisfied that we had documented our observations, we released our bugs and made plans for our next Bug Club adventure.

To keep up to date with our observations and identifications and for more information about these insects and arachnids join the project on iNaturalist.

Thanks to everyone who came and for your enthusiasm. Your efforts in finding and documenting our natural world matters.

Ingresado el 19 de mayo de 2022 por shechosetofly shechosetofly | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

29 de abril de 2022

First Bug Club Meeting

Our first Bug Club Meeting was at the Wildflower Walk at Landsborough on the 27th of April, 2022. We met at 3:30pm and set out with a group of 10 people all eager to look for Dragonflies (Odonata). It was a cloudy afternoon with a sprinkling of rain as we set off. We took with us some water nets, a butterfly net, collection jars for observations, magnifying glasses and nature journals.
The weather was not ideal for spotting dragonflies however we did manage to spot a few Red-tipped Shadeflies (Argiocnemis rubescent) a species of Damselfly which had a very pretty green body and a red-tipped tail as the name suggests. They have a length of 35-40mm. We originally thought it was the Red-rumped Wisp but with help from other identifiers we confirmed it was the Shadefly.

We used nets in the water to look for dragonfly larva but had no luck. Instead we found the awesome Giant Water Bug (Lethocerus insulanus). It is the biggest ‘true bug’ in Australia. They are also called the “electric light bug” or “giant fishkiller”. They can grow up to 7cm long and live in fresh water lakes.

They have excellent eyesight and powerful front legs to catch prey. It uses an extendable syphon at the end of their bodies, like a snorkel, to breathe underwater while hunting. It positions itself head-down on a submerged plant stem and hunts by ambush, taking tadpoles, small fish, frogs, snails and aquatic insects. They then use their proboscis to inject digestive enzymes into its prey. This liquifies the prey and then they suck it back out. They fly at night between hunting sites and are attracted to lights. Like most insects they don’t like being handled and could bite which is why it’s important not to pick them up.

Other interesting things we found were leeches, Creeping Water Bugs, freshwater snails, shrimp and crayfish, a Longihorn Beetle and an iridescent millipede (Spirobolellus).

We made observations, took photos and released our finds.

We finished the afternoon discussing what we found and writing up lists and drawing our observations.

What a great afternoon connecting with like-minded people and sharing our passion for the natural world.

Australian Museum
Minibeast Wildlife

Ingresado el 29 de abril de 2022 por shechosetofly shechosetofly | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario