A couple of years ago I wrote about a series of interesting insects that came my way. They are doing it again.
My partner in Torquay found a pair of mating insects in her garden. She took a photo and posted it on the Victorian Field Naturalists Facebook page and got the reply: Compost fly, Bibio imitator.
Together we put the record on iNaturalist as it was a new record for the Surf Coast (iNaturalist Australia is the product of a membership agreement between the iNaturalist Network and the Atlas of Living Australia and CSIRO). In the photo above, the female has the orange back. Then yesterday I found a single male in Anglesea, so that makes two records.
I found the Compost fly because I had stopped to inspect some unusual cocoons attached to leaves of a Swamp Gum in Kuarka Dorla. They turned out to be the Ribbed Case Moth, Hyalarcta nigrescens–also a new record for the Surf Coast.
Ribbed Case Moth cocoon
Not so rare, but only recorded previously in the Surf Coast three times, was the Spitfire or Sawfly larva, Perga affinis. Unusually, this one was on its own—they can cluster in groups and completely defoliate small trees. They prefer trees on the edge of the bush (where this one was) or isolated trees such as in home gardens.
Spitfire or Sawfly larva
A few days later at my place, there were some hoverflies near the clothesline. I wanted a photo, so after retrieving my camera I waited for one to settle.
One that looked different was waggling its wings independently, like semaphore flags. I couldn’t find out what it was, so asked the museum and was told it is a signal fly, Rivellia sp.—again, a first record for the Surf Coast. It isn’t rare, but no-one has taken the trouble to record it.
Thirty centimetres away was a fly with a metallic blue back. I found several pictures on the internet of different species. I thought it most likely to be the blue bottle fly, Calliphora sp., which the museum confirmed. There have been a few records of this species – two of them this year, by Angair members Alison Watson and Possum Pete (Peter Crowcroft).
Blue bottle fly
Stop press! At the Ribbed Case Moth site in Kuarka Dorla, there are now several of these tiny case moths about 2 mm long. Aren’t they exquisite, particularly the pattern of wax crystals on the leaf? I’ll monitor the site and let you know if they are baby Ribbed case moths or another species.
Baby Case Moth