The bugs are back in town

I was on parade well before official opening time this morning and was rewarded with a a nice shot of a butterfly. Readers with stamina will have met Heliophorus epicles before. It is common here but usually rests with its wings folded. Before the morning had started to warm up I found one exposing itself to the world.

Heliophorus epiclesQuite the dandy! I also found a rather odd looking miniature easter egg, hanging by a silk thread. I posted the picture on Facebook and within 20 minutes had some great information. Needless to say my guess was wrong. It is not an easter egg. Apparently they come in silver foil wrappers with pink bows tied around them and my field guide doesn’t have anything like that.

Needs ID

The best guess is that this is the cocoon of Chalops sp., an ichneumonid wasp. However it seems there are other genera with similar cocoons so I need to dig deeper. The obvious answer is to bring it home and rear it through and see what emerges. I can just imagine Mrs. Ha tolerating that. What’s that on the sideboard? A wasp cocoon. Get rid of it! In days of yore, before Mrs. Ha wove her magic on me, I used to keep all sorts of things in the fridge/freezer. But alas nowadays that has been deemed unhygienic and moths etc are no longer welcome in the kitchen.

I next went up to the bridge over the ponds in mosquito alley and boy the mozzies are back in business. Last week I only saw a couple. This morning I was bitten several times. I heard a strange call that I am checking out. I suspect it is a frog but I have gone to the guru of amphibs, Michael Lau at WWF to see if he can help. Whilst there I checked my fungi from last week. They are paler now, fading away. Then I noticed some dark bracket fungi and tried to get decent images of them.Granite fungiThese remind me of sandstone strata. I grew up in an area of Old Devonian red sandstone and as a kid we used to go to the old quarry and break open slabs of sandstone in the hope of finding fossils. Our RE teacher was nicknamed Fossil but he wasn’t in there. He seemed to be about 140 to us as 11 year olds. He had a thick white moustache and was a thoroughly amiable old buffer. Never gave us a moment of trouble. I hope he felt the same way about his class.

And finally, the power of FB again. I posted an image of an epiphyte asking what exactly it was I was seeing. Within 5 minutes I had this answer from the brilliant Mercury Wong, a young man who seems to know everything about botany:

What you can see in your photo is one of the epiphytic fern – Lemmaphyllum microphyllum, their fronds are dimorphic, those ovate fronds are sterile one while the one with orange thingy underneath are fertile one. The orange thingy you see is their sporangia which contain spore for reproduction (Fern would not produce seed).

Lemmaphyllum microphyllumIsn’t it amazing. People share their knowledge so willingly and generously. And that’s your lot for today. Tomorrow I have a busy day. Dentist, lunch, bored meeting and finally a catch up with an old friend in the evening. So I suspect it will be a nil return from me tomorrow. Thursday is even worse. 8.30am until late evening. I don’t know how people cope who have to work 5 days a week. Where do you find the time when there are so many bugs out there?

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15 thoughts on “The bugs are back in town

    • As an imago surely but of course they have a pre-life going through all the larval instars. But I know what you mean. Emerge, reproduce, die. Thanks for commenting and welcome to the blog.

  1. Love that ‘thingy’ is in use and alive and well as a description.. Andrew. 🙂 … and I now have a soft spot for your RE teacher, for some reason, your description made me feel he was something of a dying breed, a bit like my English/History teacher, I felt much the same about him..I wonder if they’re both fossilising together … Your fungi made me think of red velvet, worn by age and use, to threadbare in places, but kept, for the memory invoked. Sorry, off on a tangent here.. Your photo’s as usual stir the imagination. xPenx..

  2. That’s what Easter eggs SHOULD look like – I’ve just been ranting about the other clone-like sort. Your fungi is beautiful, too – another inspiration for some very expensive, Icelandic looking knitwear …

  3. That’s one scary “easter egg”! Gorgeous colours though. Your friend Mercury Wong is a botany expert! I don’t think I’d have fared too well in this field and would end up giving all sorts of misspelt terms to people. Good luck with the dentist!

  4. All the photos are excellent and so interesting. Of course I am partial to the ever so beautiful butterfly. Liucky you to have those to photograph. There are none to be had here in my yard. It has been too cold and windy and no flowers for them to nectar on except the Mexican plum.

    The wasp cocoon is very unusual and pretty and the fungus is gorgeous. I like the all the colors in each photo.

  5. If only everything that exposed itself was that beautiful! All fantastic shots/info.
    I can understand keeping moths and such in jars out in the garage or veranda, but the fridge/freezer!
    I’d like to know what is in the cocoon, too.

  6. The wasp cocoon looks very similar to an African prayer bead cocoon my sister-in-law brought back from one of her travels. She wore it on a braided neck cord for awhile, and then one day she went to take it out of her closet and the bottom had a big hole in it, and there was a horrible smell.
    So this might be one time you’ll be glad your wife refused to let you keep it in the house.

  7. The Easter egg wasp cocoon is extraordinary, beautiful colours and markings. Marylin’s comment is interesting. Pete’s a great hoarder of all sorts of things, dead bugs, beetles and dried up lizards being amongst some of his treasures that I ‘accidentely’ left behind in Jakarta sshhh, don’t tell him!

  8. Whatever it is in the end, the Easter egg is GREAT!!!! Nature is just amazing.
    The negative side of nature though – over there, the mozzies are back, here the bloody ticks 😦

  9. Love these so-detailed views of nature. Re rearing bugs: we once rang the local police for advice as we had a strange fizzing noise on a high shelf in a utility room where we kept some chemicals and a camping gas. They obligingly came round (in the old days when we had local police) and after some listening, a brave young man stood on a chair and retrieved a jam jar with a lid pierced with holes and a moth fluttering inside. We must have collected the cocoon and then forgotten it… Some red faces, but the police thought it was a good joke.

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