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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.

Plague Soldier Beetle - Attribution: Fir0002/Flagstaffotos

Plague Soldier Beetle – Attribution: Fir0002/Flagstaffotos

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:

  • Potoroos and Southern Brown Bandicoots captured on camera in the Otways. Also an image, of what may be an Agile Antechinus or White-footed Dunnart, is awaiting identification by Barbara Wilson
  • A Wobbegong (shark) and an Eagle Ray found on the beach at Hutt Gully
  • An Eagle Ray washed up onto a beach at Torquay
  • A Little Penguin found at Fairhaven – rescued and in care (called in from Wildlife Vic)
  • A high incidence of toadfish and leatherjackets, also goose barnacles, washed onto the beach.
  • An injured Black Swan at Fairhaven – in care at Torquay,
  • A 2 m long Great White Shark was seen near Wye River.
  • Two Hooded Plover chicks at Moggs Creek. GORCC have put up warning banners, and placed a shelter in the area. (Web editor update: the nest was reported as failed on 31/1/2013 with parent birds and chick missing).

Alicia Ivory, Marine Ranger (Parks Victoria), also works with Wildlife Victoria. There is a need for rescuers. Interested people, who would like more information on what it takes to volunteer can email Alicia  at

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.

Mike Traynor & Kaye Traynor