#08 – Hairy Mary

August 3, 2010 § 2 Comments

At #8 is a Hairy Mary caterpillar that I watched grow up from a small larvae of about 20mm in length, right through to it’s full size of about 90mm over a period of 4 or 5 weeks. When you see the same creature so many times, you cant help but form some sort of attachment to it!  This was actually the last shot I took of this fantastic caterpillar before it disappeared, presumably (i hope!) into the cover of the surrounding long grass to cocoon.

Anthela varia is the caterpillar of the large Variable Anthelid moth, so named as the colouration in the adult moths can vary from a pale yellow through to a darker brown. Found primarily along coastal regions from Queensland to Victoria, this is one of our larger moths, with a wing span of up to 90mm

I’m often reminded when looking back at shots of this caterpillar of a highland cow with all that crazy hair and the ability to chew through a bucket load of greenery!  It also gives it something akin to a personality, making it an even more memorable subject.

   Anthony – Brisbane Macro


#09 – Neon cuckoo bee

August 1, 2010 § 5 Comments


I don’t get to shoot many bees so I felt very privileged when I came across the subject in the #9 position! This was only the second species of solitary bee I had ever shot and the first time I had encountered a neon cuckoo bee.

While it may look peaceful and relaxed, I would actually rate this as the toughest shot I took all season. I was actually heading back to the car when I caught a glimpse of blue flash past to my left. I swung around in time to spot this bee and begin following it as it buzzed around the area. For the next 15 minutes I followed and watched as it landed only a few times, each for no longer than about 2 seconds.

During this time at least 4 robber flies tried a mid air attack, but each time the bee swerved out of the way and kept moving. Eventually, and I suspect out of sheer exhaustion, it was forced to perch. From the time it landed to the time if took off again was only about 20 seconds, during which time I managed to get down to ground level and close enough to fire off two shots.  One was out of focus and half out of frame and this was the other one.

Thyreus nitidulus is known as a cuckoo bee due to the fact that it does not make it’s own nest, instead depositing it’s eggs in the nest of a blue banded bee where the larvae will hatch and feed on food collected by the host.

This is without a doubt one of the best looking species of bees I’ve encountered. While this was the only sighting of the season, I’ll be on the lookout come spring to try and track down more of these little beauties!

   Anthony – Brisbane Macro

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