Readers’ wildlife photos

Today we have a grab-bag of photos by Aussie Tony Eales, whose notes are indented.

Here’s a grab bag of odds and ends to keep the tank topped-up The first is a close-up of a Blowfly—I think from the family Calliphoridae. It’s interesting that there appear to be two distinctive types of compound eyes, the upper rows and the lower rows.

The next is a cute little Cymbacha ocellata Crab Spider (family Thomisidae) building its bell-shaped retreat from a fresh green leaf.

The next is one of my favourite terrestrial orchids, Dipodium variegatum. They have no leaves and are visible only when they put up their flower spikes.

Next is a new spider for me that I saw for the first time only yesterday: Euryopis superba. They are very small (~8mm) and live under eucalyptus bark.

Last, a lacewing larva carrying a pile of parts from its former victims as camouflage. [JAC: This is a new on one me!]



  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted January 13, 2018 at 8:36 am | Permalink


  2. rickflick
    Posted January 13, 2018 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    I found myself looking for a orchid mantis in the orchid image.

  3. Michael Fisher
    Posted January 13, 2018 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Re the top picture of a blow fly. I found a pic of a Chrysomya megacephala male eye with upper facets enlarged and a sharp demarcation between upper and lower facets. I can’t link to the pic directly, due to peculiarities of the website where it’s hosted, but you can see it by clicking HERE & THEN THE “SHOW ALL” BUTTON

  4. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted January 13, 2018 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Very nice! I was totally enjoying that. The especially small subjects are tough for good pictures, and these are done exceptionally well.

    Many insects with large compound eyes have different groups of ommatidia. I think (am not sure) that they specialize in things like viewing polarized light versus other varieties of light.

  5. Michael Fisher
    Posted January 13, 2018 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Blow Fly part II… HERE IS Chrysomya rufifacies [ or Hairy Maggot Blow Fly or Hairy Sheep Maggot female & male [but I think it should be the male on the left & the female is on the right!] Notice the differences: The male has the clear demarcation of facets while the female does not have such a clear line. Also the male compound eye pair meet at the top of the head while the female eye pair do not.

    I couldn’t find anything as to why the eye facet demarcation in males nor why the sexes have different eye separations. Does anyone know why?

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted January 13, 2018 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      Disregard the male female bit – they are the correct way ’round in the linked pic. I confused the male/female symbols used [ageing is a terrible bloody affair]

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted January 13, 2018 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      Looking more carefully at my linked pic of male & female blow fly compound eyes…

      The ommatidia [facets] are larger than ‘normal’ on the top half of the male eye. The ‘normal’ size is as per the female eye & the lower half of the male eye. Nocturnal mosquito species have fewer facets of larger size compared to diurnal mosquito species, but I suppose the reason for the male/female difference can’t be that – perhaps it’s so the males can track the females in flight for mating purposes?

  6. Heather Hastie
    Posted January 13, 2018 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Fantastic pics. Thanks!

  7. Don Mackay
    Posted January 13, 2018 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    Is the orchid shown above parasitic on the roots of some other plant root system? Or is the green stem sufficient for its nutrient needs?

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted January 13, 2018 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      According to the Wiki that’t linked just above the picture:

      DNA recovered show it forms mycorrhizal associations with Russula solaris and R. occidentalis, in keeping with the observation that many members of the genus form relationships with fungi of the family Russulaceae. The orchid has been observed to occur in close proximity to Eucalyptus species and it is thought that a relationship exists with these trees through this mycorrhizal association

      Here is an interesting Wiki on myco-heterotrophy which [I think] is the mechanism that applies to this orchid. Here is the start of the Wiki, but it’s worth clicking for the full monty:

      …plant gets all or part of its food from parasitism upon fungi rather than from photosynthesis. A myco-heterotroph is the parasitic plant partner in this relationship. Myco-heterotrophy is considered a kind of cheating relationship and myco-heterotrophs are sometimes informally referred to as “mycorrhizal cheaters”. This relationship is sometimes referred to as mycotrophy, though this term is also used for plants that engage in mutualistic mycorrhizal relationships

      • Don Mackay
        Posted January 15, 2018 at 2:24 am | Permalink

        Thanks for that.
        Very interesting. My old 1965 copy of ‘Ecology of Soil Borne Plant Pathogens’ ed. by Baker and Snyder has a different term than Myco-Heterotrophy, namely ectendotrophic mycorrhiza! The fungi penetrate cells of the short roots of orchids where after a while the hyphae are broken down, and presumably digested. Whether it is fair to call the orchid ‘cheaters’ in this is moot, since it is the fungi which attack the orchid, no doubt encouraged by the orchid’s root secretions.

  8. Posted January 13, 2018 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    Great pics! I like.

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