Southside Community News – October 2010

The first of my regular bushcare articles this month’s Southside Community News explores the unlikely relationship between the beautiful Imperial Hairstreak Jalmenus evagoras and native Small Meat Ants. Click on article to enlarge.

Two strong populations of Hairstreaks are tangible evidence of effectiveness of our bushcare work. Walking through our plantings and finding clusters of these beautiful butterflies in areas we have planted is a real thrill.  Watch the of video – Imperial Hairstreaks.

It was also pleasing to read Councillor Krista Adams’s interest and support for sustainable tourism in our unique reserve.

Want to meet some of our amazing wildlife upclose?

Come any Wednesday afternoon (2pm to 5pm) to our Fox Gully bushcare group. For information email foxcoaching@optusnet.com.au

Mike

If you see a branch on the footpath be careful. It might be a caterpillar.

Today Cindy, who is a Homestay student living with us, came home very excited because she have found a Case Moth caterpiller. She noticed a branch moving on the footpath and she thought it must be ants carrying some food back to their nest. So she stopped, crouched down to watch and found no ants. There was a head sticking out from the branch and the branch moved by itself. The branch must be something’s house.

Cindy wanted to take a picture but had no camera. So she decided that her lunch box would do to capture this living branch. The branch didn’t move all the way back home so Cindy thought the insect must have escaped.

We quickly identified the Case as a Common Leaf Case Moth – Hyalarcta hucbneri – by searching the excellent Brisbane Insects & Spiders site – www.brisbaneinsects.com This is an excellent site with hundreds of photos of our Brisbane insects.

Also know as a Leaf Bagworm the caterpillars live in a silken case to which they attach leaves or twigs. This caterpillar had been eating Acacia leaves and had used some half eaten leaves as part of its case.

This addition to our Flora & Fauna of Mt Gravatt Reserve is particularly special having been discovered by our Korean visitor who only a few months ago would never have dared pick up an insect on the footpath. Still not sure if the caterpillar was still inside we set it outside and waited. It was only a sort while before a head appeared and looked around before venturing futher out and starting to move across the table.

Knowing that it had been eating Acacia leaves I cut some young juicy Acacia Falcata leaves from our bushcare planting. This was a big success with the caterpillar chomping into the leaf straight away.

As soon as Cindy tried to move the leaf the caterpillar pulled back and clamped onto the leaf like it was hanging from a tree. It was not coming out in a hurry but it was also not going to let go of its meal.

Watch this facinating creature on video.