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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.

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Araba Bioscan

Araba Bioscan 11-18 December 2020

This week’s sample images again focus on the diversity of parasitic Hymenoptera appearing in the Malaise trap.

A new species for the trap was Ulonemia burckhardti (Hemiptera: Tingidae). The photo of the parallel sides to the channel on the underside that holds the rostrum at rest confirms that this is the correct species, according to the 2018 thesis by Ryan Shofner: Taxonomy and Phylogenetics of the genus Ulonemia Drake and Poor, 1937 (Heteroptera: Tingidae), with an emphasis on the population genetics of a pestiferous species. This thesis informally proposes the ultimate move of this species to a new genus named Proteatingis.

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Araba Bioscan

Araba Bioscan 4-11 December 2020

The week included a few cooler days and biomass in the trap was lower than the previous two weeks.

Photographs this week include several species ichneumonoid wasps that resemble others caught in recent weeks, but also many species not previously caught or photographed.

One of the cicadas caught this week and last week has been identified by David Emery as Yoyetta robertsonae Moulds, Popple & Emery 2020. The type locality for this recently described species is within meters of the Malaise trap. See the paper here: A new species of Yoyetta Moulds from south-eastern Australia with notes on relationships within the Yoyetta tristrigata species group (Hemiptera, Cicadidae, Cicadettini).

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Araba Bioscan

Araba Bioscan 27 November to 4 December 2020

The trap continues to collect a wide diversity of insects in the new location. I’ve photographed a larger-than-usual selection, including several striking flies and wasps, and three different beetles from the family Mordellidae (tumbling flower beetles).

Many thanks to all those who have assisted with identifications on iNaturalist or in person.

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Araba Bioscan

Araba Bioscan 20-27 November 2020 (New location)

This was the first week running a Malaise trap at the new location selected for the remainder of the project. It was operated in parallel with the original Malaise trap (just 10 m further north). For the results from the original trap, see Araba Bioscan 20-27 November 2020 (Original location).

The new position is slightly higher up a slope and less screened by vegetation on the lower side. Differences in air movements and sight lines presumably contributed to such a massive discrepancy in insect volumes.

Termites swarmed on Saturday 21 and Sunday 21 November and were well represented in both traps. The new trap however caught much greater biomass and many more species, particularly Diptera and Hymenoptera. A selection of the more conspicuous or striking species are illustrated.