In The Foothills.

A warm April day saw the camera searching for subjects in the dry foothills where fungi were the least expected, however on the side of the track…

It’s that time of year when the Sunshine Wattle, Acacia terminalis brightens the bush. In this area the flowers generally are white or pale cream, whereas further east in Gippsland they can be bright yellow. The only insects observed on the flowers were honey bees.

A search for jumping spiders in sunlit areas of leaf litter was successful with this Hypoblemum species,

And another with bright pedipalps and a raised fringe of white hairs.

Also hunting in the warmth of the sun and living up to their name were Swift Spiders, Nyssus albopunctatus. Eventually one paused briefly for a photo opportunity.

Two more denizens of the leaf litter were a Red-headed Spider Ant, Leptomyrmex erythrocephalus, click following images to enlarge,

And a Gumleaf Grasshopper, confident in its camouflage and easy to photograph.

Small skinks were active, this is probably the Dark-flecked Sun Skink, Lampropholis delicata.

This one was hard to catch up with, after a previous experience it had obviously learnt to be wary.

The final stop was at a hillside slope that three years ago used to be good for the Peacock Jumping Spiders Maratus volans and Maratus plumosus, however despite a careful search none were found. Since that time there has been a “fuel reduction burn”, and despite there again being a good cover of leaf litter, the only invertebrates seen were ants and flying insects.

Random Collection.

With the eucalypts outgrowing their bark there are lots of hiding places behind the loose flakes, Chalcopteroides cyanopterus, (Tenebrionidae) in its various colour forms takes full advantage.

Paropsisterna intacta, (Chrysomelidae) is a handsome leaf beetle.

Small leaf beetles like this Paropsis species come to the moth light on occasion.

As do Ichneumon wasps, like this nice Enicospilus species, a caterpillar parasite.

When mothing is under way in the garden, foraging sugar ant soldiers are soon on the scene to gather small moths that inevitably get crushed underfoot on the groundsheet.

This season has been notable for the lack (among many things) of spiders. Normally the trees would be festooned with garden orb-weaver webs, not so, leaf-curlers are missing, and jumpers have been extremely scarce. Christmas Jewel Spiders that left numerous egg sacs last season were a non event, likewise St. Andrew’s Cross, so, photographs are scarce. However this neat retreat of an unknown species behind an external power-point was well worth a snap.

A disturbed huntsman couldn’t find a bark flake for cover so had to settle for camouflage.

This fly with partially developed wings seen on a vegetable plot was captured for a later snap.

Some images will enlarge with a click.