A group of ANGAIR members, who were conducting a survey of the vegetation at Fairyland, observed a number of beetles, which were later identified as Plague Soldier Beetles, Chauliognathus lugubris.
This native species has earned its common name of the Plague Soldier Beetle, not as a result of bringing or spreading any dangerous plagues, rather because of its habit of forming huge mating swarms. During the mating periods, they can appear in such large numbers that it is not uncommon for them to weigh down the limbs of weaker plants. Following the mating swarm the beetles tend to disperse.
The larvae of this species live in the soil, and feed on soft bodied invertebrates, while the adults feed on nectar and pollen. The bright, yellow-orange colour of the beetle’s abdomen, which is capable of releasing distasteful chemicals, warns off predators.
During December 2012, sightings of the Common Koel were reported in Victoria, including Geelong, Surf Coast and the Bellarine Peninsula, and about the same time, one was heard calling at Gum Flat. Since then, there have been actual sightings of the male bird in Torquay and Anglesea. The Common Koel is featured this month on our factsheet in the Knowledge bank.
Other interesting sightings over the past few weeks include:
The Gippsland bushfires bring destruction to towns and properties, but for wildlife it’s a tragedy Many of the rescued animals require medical treatment and extensive rehabilitation. Jirrahlinga is taking donations to help with this wildlife appeal. There is an urgent need for blankets, clean sheets, towels and pillowcases. Also tins of Digestalac (a nutrition product), which can be purchased at Priceline, and probably other pharmacies, would be very much appreciated.
Jirrahlinga is presently treating a number of animals for heat related illnesses. Many creatures do not handle the extreme heat well, and require special care. One way we can help during the summer, is to have plenty of fresh drinking water available for the animals.
There is a good news story from Jirrahlinga. Tehree Gordon reports that a Rufous Bristlebird was brought in with an eye injury. The bird has been treated, and is well again, and can now be released back in Aireys Inlet to re-join its mate.