Currently viewing the tag: "WTB? Down Under"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Tree hopper – but WOW!
Location: College Grove (Bunbury), Western Australia
May 16, 2017 10:07 pm
Dear Bugman,
I live and work in Bunbury, Western Australia at a University campus in a natural bush setting. I have a favourite break-time perch on a fallen tree trunk, where for the past few months I have been noticing on occasion juvenile tree hoppers (possibly nymphs) climbing up the trunk of a nearby tree. I did not think to photograph them as they were – forgive me – rather plain looking. They had none of the lurid adornments of many hoppers (such as the ‘fluffy bums’), their tail end has two shortish spines which they carry erect.
Now that the rains have come, I have been noticing what may be an adult form of this hopper. It has the same colouration as the juvenile hoppers I was seeing. I have attached a photo of a single winged insect and what do you know, it has a spectacular tuft of white hair erupting from it’s backside, like I’ve seen in pictures of some nymphs of other hopper species! It is photographed on the trunk of the Banksia tree which I believe is the host plant. You can see that the insect’s colouration is a good match for the bark. They are not strong fliers, managing distances of only a metre or two at a time. They showed no interest in each other whenever they met by chance, which had me wondering if I was seeing represented only one sex.
I was not left wondering for long, as yesterday I found several of what appear to be the mature female form of the insect – and what an amazing creature she is! She is wingless and appears to fully retain her larval form, however is MANY times the size of the male. The specimen I photographed was making her way across damp leaf litter under the trees. Dwarfed by her enormous size, you can see three males on her back, which makes me think I’m definitely seeing male and female of the same species. I saw several specimens with males attached.
I am amazed that what I thought was a rather plain treehopper may be very unusual indeed – the extreme sexual dimorphism suggests the males and females have very different lifestyles, – ‘conventional’ hopper males in the treetops and giant larval females perhaps among the leaf litter. If I had not seen them together, I would never have imagined they were the same species. I have not been able to find any images online that are similar to my specimens, nor any indication that such dimorphism is common in hoppers. I am excited to have found such an unusual and seemingly undocumented insect.
What do you think, Bugman?
Signature: Glenn Brockman

Male Bird of Paradise Scale Insect

Hi Glenn,
What we think is that your images are amazing, and that this is a really exciting posting for us, but these are NOT Treehoppers, but they are members of the same order Hemiptera.  We quickly identified the male Scale Insect as a Bird of Paradise Fly from the genus
Callipappus, thanks to the Australian Museum site where it states:  “This genus includes some of the largest known scale insects in the world. The males and females look completely different. Males are delicate and exotic insects, whilst females are flightless grub-like insects.”  The site also states:  “Males have the front pair of wings well-developed for flying, with the hind pair of wings reduced, so that they look superficially like true flies in the order Diptera. The mouthparts are not functional, so the usual characteristic of the order Hemiptera (“sucking mouthparts”) is not visible. Males have long waxy filaments protruding from the tip of their abdomen, and when they fly they resemble dandelion seed heads. The wings and body are often coloured with vivid violet or red.  Adult females are large, up to 40mm long, often covered in waxy powder, and are usually found immobile and attached to vertical surfaces such as trees and fence posts.”  More information provided on Australian Museum states:  “Females moult into the adult stage and crawl up above ground and onto vertical structures such as trees and fence posts. Males mate with the females at this stage, then the females crawl to a protected place such as under bark, or in a crevice, where they become immobile and appear essentially dead. At this stage the four posterior segments of the abdomen are retracted into the abdomen to form a large cavity (“marsupium”), with a posterior slit-like opening. The first instar nymphs (“crawlers”) develop inside this marsupium in the dead leathery body of the mother, then emerge, dropping onto vegetation and soil. Mortality of these crawlers must be very high as 1,000 to 2,000 are produced per female.”  The site also states:  “Immature stages live underground on roots of plant hosts where they suck sap. Food plants are poorly known, as adult females often move away from nymphal feeding locations.”  You might have discovered that Banksia is a food plant.  The Bird of Paradise Fly and its mating habits are also profiled on the Brisbane Insect site where Violet Pheonix is listed as an alternate name and this information:  “The male has a small head and two black eyes, antenna are about the same length as it body. The male has only one pair of wings. We cannot see any sign of the second pair of wings. The wing veins are simple. They do not put down their wings when rest. We cannot see their mouth parts. The female is much larger than the male and is wingless. She has the flat and scout body with small eyes. She has the antenna about the same length as the male’s. She has three pairs of strong legs for climbing up the gum tree trunk. We believe they are going to lay eggs on the tree top.”  Thank you for contributing this marvelous addition to our site.

Mating Bird of Paradise Scale Insects

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this caterpillar and the hairy stuff around it?
Location: Sydney
May 4, 2017 10:59 pm
Hi! I live in Sydney, Australia and it’s currently autumn. I saw this caterpillar on my cumquat (calamondin) tree. Do you know what kind it is? What is that hairy structure around it? Is it the start of a cocoon?
Signature: Carey

Lichen Moth Cocoon, we believe

Dear Carey,
We found an exact match to your cocoon on FlickR, but alas, it is only identified as a “wingless moth cocoon.”  We actually found that image after finding several similar looking, but not exact images, beginning with Butterfly House where there are images of the caterpillar, caterpillar in its cocoon and pupa in the cocoon of Cyana meyricki, and this information is provided:  “The cocoon made by the caterpillar is quite remarkable. It is an open square mesh cage, constructed out of larval hairs held together with silk. The hairs are too short to construct the cage directly, so the caterpillar attaches pairs of hairs to each other end to end, and uses these pairs to make the sides of the cage. The pupa is suspended in the middle of the cage, equidistant from the sides. The caterpillar even manages to push its final larval skin outside the mesh cage while forming its pupa. When the moth emerges, it appears to exit the cage without damaging it.”  We found another image of the caterpillar in its cocoon on FLickRAustralia Museum provides the common name Lichen Moth and provides this information:  ” This lichen moth makes an elaborate open mesh cocoon using the shed hairs from the hairy caterpillar which are held together with silk. The pupa is suspended in the middle.”  Now we will present our opinion.  We believe this is a Lichen Moth Caterpillar in its cocoon, after losing its hairs and constructing the cocoon, but before the final molt to the pupa occurs, so you are seeing a pre-pupal caterpillar that doesn’t really exactly resemble either the caterpillar or pupal stage as it is in transition.

Update:  May 17, 2017
We just approved a comment that the Clouded Footman,
Anestia ombrophanes, is another possibility, and images on Butterfly House tend to support that possibility.  The site states:  “They form a pupa inside a sparse cocoon made of silk and larval hairs, attached to a fence, a tree, or a wall.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Whats that Bug
Location: Gippsland Victoria
May 3, 2017 3:31 am
UMMM i saw this Bug on our farm down the bottom of a valley and it looked lost !! i have never seen anything like this before.
Signature: dan

Mole Cricket

Dear Dan,
This is a Mole Cricket, and it is one of our most common identification requests.  We receive images of Mole Crickets from Australia and many other parts of the globe.  Mole Crickets are subterranean dwellers that use their front legs to quickly did in the earth.  Some species can also fly and they are attracted to lights.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Strange bug northern Gold coast
Location: Pimpama, Gold Coast
April 30, 2017 6:08 pm
We found these ant like creatures
Signature: Rebecca

Possibly Assassin Bug Hatchlings

Dear Rebecca,
These are recently hatched Heteropterans, or True Bugs, and we strongly believe they are Assassin Bugs in the family Reduviidae, but we would not rule out Leaf Footed Bugs in the family Coreidae.  Many plant feeding Heteropterans remain in groups while feeding, while predatory species eventually become solitary hunters. 

Hatchling Heteropterans


What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What’s this?
Location: Inverliegh, Victoria, Australia
April 24, 2017 6:38 pm
I found these at a mates farm. Never seen anything like them?
Signature: Clark McConachy

Gum Leafhoppers

Dear Clark,
Your image depicts two winged adults and several immature nymphs of a species of Black Gum Leafhopper in the genus
Eurymeloides, based on images posted to the Brisbane Insect website and Dave’s Garden were it is called a Gumtree Hopper.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Can you identity this beetle for me?
Location: Darlington QLD Australia
April 24, 2017 3:38 am
Hi, I found this beetle in a gorge and I was wondering if you could identify it.
Signature: Place on email

Regal Jewel Beetle

This is a Jewel Beetle in the family Buprestidae, and based on images posted to Australia:  Land of Stigmodera, we believe it is Calodema regalis or a closely related species.  There is also an image named the Regal Jewel Beetle posted to Csiro that supports that identification.

Regal Jewel Beetle

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination