Friday, December 18, 2009


The warm weather is really bringing out the insects! I took this photo of a male mantid a couple of nights ago.


The mantid was on the ceiling (hmm, needs cleaning) when I shot this while precariously standing on a chair. (The image has been inverted.) Mantids are from the Order Mantodea, and are excellent predators of other invertebrates.

This photo is of a female, shot through a window (hmm, also needs cleaning). It's eating a beetle. 


Here's another female, resident of Macquarie University Biology Department:


My daughter has a growing interest in insects, and is planning to keep a mantid as a pet. So expect many more photos of these gorgeous creatures!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

The Bird and the Spider.

No particular theme today, but two animals that caught my fancy.

The first is a black house spider, Badumna insignis. It's a common sight in Australian gardens and houses. While not too dangerous, it is poisonous and can badly affect sensitive folk. I'm trying to improve my skills in photographing arthropods, but it isn't easy! Focus, lighting....

Badumna insignis

The second species is becoming a frequent visitor to Sydney gardens, particularly since baiting of foxes (one of Australia's many mammal weeds!) is starting to take effect. While brush turkeys (Alectura lathami) are well known for foraging in mulch, building mounds in inconvenient spots and generally causing general garden chaos, few realise that at night they roost in trees. That our garden is a popular place for them to roost is evidenced by the chunky piles of brush turkey poo we regularly find on our car.

Roosting brush turkey

I just took this shot, at dusk. It's remarkable that such a large bird (weighing around just under 2 kg) can roost so happily on what are really quite narrow branches.

Here's one I prepared earlier: