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Araba Bioscan

Araba Bioscan 19-26 February 2021

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Araba Bioscan

Araba Bioscan 12-19 February 2021

This week, I’ve returned to 95% isopropyl as the sampling medium. Once results back from samples collected using both isopropyl and denatured ethanol, it will be easier to decide which to use longer term.

After many weeks during which Ichneumonidae were prominent, there was only one (I think) this week (and also no Blattodea). All the ichneumonid species that have been prominent for some weeks were absent. Compare samples from the last month, for which I have photographed every ichneumonid I found (based on my current identifications, 16, 3, 11 and 12 individuals in the last four weeks).

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Araba Bioscan

Araba Bioscan 5-12 February 2021

This was the second of a two-week test of use of Australian denatured ethanol as the collecting medium. I will return to isopropyl again for the next few weeks, awaiting feedback from Guelph on the first isopropyl samples submitted.

Many thanks to Charles Godfray for the first non-spam comment submitted to this blog.

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Araba Bioscan

Araba Bioscan 29 January to 5 February 2021

This week, the sample was collected using 95% denatured ethanol. This is a test of the effect of the denaturing compound used in Australian ethanol (Denatoium Bensonate 5ppm MIBK) on samples for barcoding.

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Araba Bioscan

Araba Bioscan 22-29 January 2021

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Araba Bioscan

Araba Bioscan 15-22 January 2021

This week’s sample included three individuals of a Ulonemia (Hemiptera: Tingidae) species that seems not to be Ulonemia burckhardti, which had already been recorded. According to Shofner 2018 that species has “metasternal carinae straight, parallel, width equal to mesosternal carinae”, whereas the new insects show significant widening of these carinae relative to the mesosternal carinae.

A Camponotus specimen in the sample was heavily infested with small dark discs, apparently the spores of a fungus, most likely Myrmicinosporidium durum, although all records of this parasite to date seem to be from the northern hemisphere.

The sample also included the first plume moth for the project, one individual of Stenoptilia zophodactylus (Duponchel, 1840), a species of near-global distribution.

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Araba Bioscan

Araba Bioscan 8-15 January 2021

I’ve been trying to include images of interesting species that recur on multiple weeks in the hope that this makes it easier for me to understand phenology and seasonal change in community composition. I expect increasingly to use portmanteau images that show several of these species at once. For the time being, I’ve added some functionality so I can quickly crop smaller images from the views of the entire sample and use these to highlight these records.

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Araba Bioscan

Araba Bioscan 1-8 January 2021

This week’s sample included the first mantis, the first representatives of the wasp families Gasteruptiidae and Mymaridae and the first “dustywing” (Neuroptera: Coniopterygidae) for the project.

I also changed the aperture on the DSLR image of the sample to improve the depth of field and (finally) put a little effort into white(r) balance for the stereomicroscope photos.

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Araba Bioscan

Araba Bioscan 25 December 2020 to 1 January 2021

This week’s images again focus on Hymenoptera in the sample, with several interesting Tiphiidae and large numbers of smaller wasps (Pteromalidae, Chrysididae, etc.).

Among the chrysidoid wasps were one male and one female of the subfamily Elasminae (Eulophidae). The pale hind tibiae of the female clearly show the diamond pattern that Riek, 1967 offers as diagnostic for the genus Elasmus. The female seems to key out cleanly as Elasmus margiscutellum Girault, 1915, a species recorded from Canberra (Mount Majura). The male seems close to Riek’s description of the male of Elasmus aquila Girault, 1912, particularly in the enlarged posterior bristles on the scutellum, although that species has pale fore coxae. The male of Elasmus margiscutellum is not described in Riek.

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Araba Bioscan

Araba Bioscan 18-25 December 2020

One of the flies captured this week seems to have been parasitised by a nematode or other “worm” that has apparently hollowed out at least the interior of each compound eye. The fly had no wings remaining and the head was rotated through 180°. Finding information on parasites of insect eyes is very difficult since searches repeatedly return pages on insect parasites of human and animal eyes. Any information on clades that destroy the eyes of flies would be welcome. I assume that the parasite also controlled the fly’s behaviour to climb upward (and fall into the sampling bottle) despite being so badly compromised.