Readers’ wildlife photos

Our holiday pictures comprise a nice selection of insect shots by reader Tony Eales in Australia. His notes are indented. I’ll also put out a call for readers to send in their good wildlife photos (and “wildlife” includes landscapes and plants).

Tony from Australia again. One thing that I’ve noticed since getting into insect photography is that you come across odd constructions and it’s always worth taking a few photographs and asking amateur hobby internet groups what is going on.

My first such discovery was of the Clouded Footman Moth (Anestia ombrophanes). The caterpillar is a hairy affair which eats lichen. When it comes time to pupate they construct a light cocoon made of their own hairs tied together with silk. It was this I first photographed.

CFM pic 1

The males of this species look like typical small moths but the females are large and wingless, they stay with their cocoon and lay their eggs on the outside.

CFM pic 2

Other weird things I’ve found, the remains of a basket lerp (Cardiaspina sp.); the weirdly patterned chrysalis of an ichneumon wasp (Hyposoter sp.); the remains of a planthopper (maybe a spittlebug Philagra parvawhich are common in this area) killed by a cordyceps fungus; and the egg case of a Jewel Spider (Austracantha minax).

Basket lerp:

Basket Lerp

Ichneumon wasp:

ichneumon wasp chrysalis



Planthopper killed by Cordyceps fungus:


Egg case of Jewel Spider:

Jewel Spider egg case

My latest mystery is yet another odd moth caterpillar. It appears to be in the same family as the more well known, Gum Leaf Skeletoniser (Uraba lugens),which is famous for wearing its old moults as a hat. The one I found appears to be making a protective cage out of its poop as it skeletonises the leaf. None of the experts I’ve consulted have seen the like and it’s probably not a species either known or described. As Don Herbison-Evans says on his web page, there are “3,803 named and described Australian Lepidoptera species, but sadly only including 733 Caterpillar pictures”. The only way to fix this is for people to catch, photograph and raise to adulthood many more caterpillars which can then be identified. My plan is to get back to the site where I photographed these guys and hopefully collect one to raise.

Larvae 1

Larvae 2


  1. Posted July 4, 2016 at 8:04 am | Permalink


  2. rickflick
    Posted July 4, 2016 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Wow. What a weird world!
    Thanks for providing us a walk on the wild side.

  3. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted July 4, 2016 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Wow! A great collection of the oddities that are out there. I really enjoyed that. Good luck in rearing the mystery caterpillar. Odds are reasonable that it is a described species as an adult insect, but as you point out the larvae of many are not known.

  4. Posted July 4, 2016 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Very nice observations! We live in a complex world with many amazing things happening unseen in plain sight.

  5. Posted July 4, 2016 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Terrific pictures of amazing creatures! The world is vast.

  6. Diana MacPherson
    Posted July 4, 2016 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    I think the spittlebug looks cute!

  7. Dominic
    Posted July 4, 2016 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    just -WOW!

  8. Mark R.
    Posted July 4, 2016 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Now this is an original batch of RWP: an insect freak show. Fascinating and well described. Thanks!

  9. Diane G.
    Posted July 5, 2016 at 1:18 am | Permalink

    Very cool, Tony!

    I love the term, “lerp!” New to me, but it seems like something I should have learned in entomology; unless they’re limited to Australia?

  10. Kevin
    Posted July 5, 2016 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    Crazy interesting. Thanks.

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