For years, I have had some Antlion traps in the dry scoria soil in my carport. An Antlion is the very ugly larva of the very beautiful Lacewing insect.

The dumpy, little creatures, each dig a small volcano-shaped hole, known as a trap, by flicking grains of soil out, then bury themselves at the bottom with their large pincers pointing up. The sides are so steep that any disturbance causes a landslide.

 Antlion traps
Antlion traps

Ants that blunder across one of the holes fall to the bottom, and if they are not immediately grabbed by the antlion, suffer a shower of flicked sand grains that cause continuous landslides. The poor ant ends up at the bottom, in the jaws of the antlion. After a while the antlion metamorphoses into a lacewing, a bit like a small, green dragonfly. The body is slender, the wings transparent, and overall it is beautiful and delicate, quite the opposite to the larval stage.

 Lacewing
Lacewing

Somehow I must have carried some cocoons, (the intermediate stage between larva & adult) in to my house with firewood, because I started getting lacewings on my windowsills. I let a couple go, but most were dead when I found them. As I usually do, I sent some images to the Discovery Centre at the Museum, then at their request a specimen. Eventually an answer came:
“I finally got your lacewings to Ken Harris, who is in the Victorian Entomological Society, and has an interest in Neuroptera. He has said the insects are Italochrysa insignis, a species that is quite common, but Anglesea is a new locality record, and extends their range to the west of Melbourne. We will put these into the collection and we thank you for sending them into us.”

This a new record for ANGAIR's lists, too.

Neil Tucker

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Sat 9:00am - 3:00pm

Nov
26

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27

Mon 9:30am - 11:00am

Weed of the month

Freesia

Freesia

Freesia refracta and Freesia alba X F. leichtlinii are declared weeds in the Surf Coast Shire because they spread easily and threaten to invade bushland. Freesias are perennial herbs that die back in summer and produce new foliage in winter. The highly fragrant trumpet-shaped flowers appearing in spring are white to cream and pink with yellow markings, shaded purple on outer surface. Each plant has at least two corms, one below the other, thus requiring deep digging to remove them.

More details about how to control this weed can be found in the archive of Weeds of the Month.

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