Sunday, February 24, 2013

Australia - hawks and hawk-moths

Good day for raptors yesterday with a cracking adult Brahminy Kite low over the house (rare away from the coast), and a Grey Goshawk perched high in the trees while spotlighting in Whites Hill woodland. The spotlighting trip also produced a calling Powerful Owl just inside the extreme SE corner of the square, though it couldn't be lured into view. These beasts are huge Ninox owls that spend most of their time eating possums - plenty of Common Brushtail Possums out there last night, so no shortage of food. A bunch of spider photos to ID - I'm not hopeful.

Despite Convolvulus Hawk-moth and Gardenia Bee Hawk-moth (see below), the main action species-wise has been focused on rather smaller things. Here's a selection of recent goodies and baddies:

Cane Toad, aggressive invader in Whites Hill. Bad tummy will kill most snakes if eaten, responsible for severe declines in big snakes, amongst other things.

Gardenia Bee Hawk-moth larva in defence posture. This cracker was just outside our front door.

Convolvulus Hawk-moth, dwarfing an Endotricha pyrosalis. Proof that you can catch big moths in a 12V trap!

Laughing Kookaburra on the garden fence, having just eaten a Rhinoceros Beetle from the moth trap.

Is this a bug nymph? This whole world is new to me.

Epicoma melanosticta, a Notodontid

Haritalodes derogata

Common Garden Katydid Caedicia simplex
My list is now 172, with the last few ticks as follows:

Species Type Date
Gardenia Bee Hawk-moth (Cephonodes kingii) Macro Moth 24/02/2013
Reddish-brown Woodland Cockroach (Platyzosteria anceps) Cockroach 23/02/2013
(Endotricha pyrosalis) Micro Moth 23/02/2013
(Cnaphalocrocis medinalis) Micro Moth 23/02/2013
Convolvulus Hawk-moth (Agrius convolvulii) Macro Moth 23/02/2013
Bean Leafroller (Omiodes diemenalis) Micro Moth 23/02/2013
Common Garden Katydid (Caedicia simplex) Grasshopper 23/02/2013
White Clover (Trifolium repens) Plant 23/02/2013
Powerful Owl (Ninox strenua) Bird 23/02/2013
Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus) Bird 23/02/2013
Red-shouldered Leaf Beetle (Monolepta australis) Beetle 23/02/2013
House Fly (Musca domestica) Fly 23/02/2013
Giant Water Spider (Megadolomedes australianus) Spider 23/02/2013
Leaf-curling Araneus (Araneus dimidiatus) Spider 23/02/2013
Grey Goshawk (Accipiter novaehollandiae) Bird 23/02/2013
Rhinoceros Beetle (Xylotrupes gideon) Beetle 21/02/2013
(Epicoma melanosticta) Macro Moth 21/02/2013


  1. Hey Rich, unbelievable that you get stuff like White Clover and Convolvulus Hawk down there too! Re your "nymph bug" it looks more like a weevil to me (long rostrum with antennae inserted halfway along). Absolutely no idea of the families down there, but up here the following applies - scape (lengthened basal segment of antenna) longer than next 2 segments together = Curculionidae. Scape shorter, but nearly equal to, the next 2 segments together = Apionidae. Scape very short = Attelabidae. C'mon the Aussies, lets see you in the top 5 soon? :D


    This is what you need to clap eyes on, mate!

  3. Wow, and I get annoyed by the Great Tits at my moth trap. Looks like the Kooka could carry off the entire trap!

  4. yep, it's a whole lot of kingfisher - they've been known to snatch burgers out of the hands of BBQ guests mid flight! It made short work of a six cm long Rhinoceros Beetle, gone before I could get my camera on it. Cheers for the link Seth - I'll take a look.

  5. Rich, i'd call that an Apionidae weevil but a pretty mad one by British standards. Might be easier to i.d. if you can find it on its foodplant.

  6. Thanks guys, I'll check out the weevils and see if I can get anywhere.