Bit of a poke around big paperbarks at front of the mown and park-manicured Tyto precinct this week turned up some small wildlife unnoticed by the tourists.
First, wee Black House Spider (Badumna insignis), probably closely related to the little bugger so excruciatingly met the other day (previous post). Smaller than my little fingernail and striving to look even smaller after being spilled out from behind bark onto path.
Nearby in wet, rotting tree fork, one of many Mr Bigs, Carpenter Ant (Camponotus spp.) charging out to find the agent responsible for poking around top of presumed tunnels and galleries chomped into the wood. Bigger than my thumbnail and said to pack a mean bite. Queens (not seen) said to be gigantic (for ants).
A hairy find, caterpillar of Cinnabar Moth (Tyria jacobaeae), an insect introduced to control Tansy Ragwort (Senecio jacobae). Hope that's going better than many such introductions. Hinchinbrook shire tried weevil control against Salvinia. Seems task was too big for man and insect. Spraying has achieved cosmetic and ugly partial kill of the weed. But it may have cleared the weevil.
Two for the web of one: St Andrew's Cross Spider (Argiope keyserlingi), female, lacking two legs (not so bad if one starts with eight) and tiny male mate, smaller than her head, sitting down below. He'll wait there until she consumes unwary suitors and then return to position on her back (according to web sources - wee joke there).
And one little footnote to earlier post on night screamers: happily and healthily hatched and sitting around, often under a parent, juvenile Bush Stone-curlews. Cute, eh?
Months of seeing back half of snake slipping away into long Town Common grass without being absolutely sure of species ended with Greater Black Whipsnake yesterday finally presenting front half to camera. The para grass surrounding the pool at Payets tower is probably home to more than six snake species. Mostly they're seen when swimming across open water.
One of their prey targets, Two-lined Dragon well out of snake danger on bonnet of Troopy. Nope, not my doing. It appeared from 'nowhere' the other morn. Clear bonnet one second, Dragon hood ornament the next. Odd, because dragon claws don't grip like skinks'. As seen when it nipped through open driver's door to inside Troopy but was easily scooped up as it kept trying to scale rubber matting over transmission tunnel, getting halfway up only to slide back down again.
Wouldn't be easy scooping metre's worth of Yellow-spotted Monitor from inside Troopy. But though the invitation's been made a few ti…