Jump to content
Daryl

Garden Visitors

Recommended Posts

RyManUtah

That’s good to know. Bark scorpions scare me a little, they’re pretty venomous. Our natives are the desert hairy and the northern. The bark scorpion was once a lot more of a problem, but it’s now most mostly near newer developed areas. The biggest problems are Dixie Springs, Desert Color and Little Valley areas, which are the biggest New developments, so it makes sense. I’m at the northern end of little valley, not in the valley, so we see them every now and then, mostly in spring after heavy rains. They seem to like low lying bushes next to block walls. I have been stung by a desert hairy once. It was a big fella, but it wasn’t much worse than a bee sting. Easily just shaken off over a few days. We now move rocks with gloves, after poking them with a stick :unsure:

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
greysrigging

This guy having a spell under my house...'Common Crow' butterfly ( Euploea core ). Quite common in my garden
20200302_103732.thumb.jpg.d513022163c8abfed1a2ecbe8de88cf5.jpg20200302_103803.thumb.jpg.6ac38214bb15dd27e60b04ceb0e0c2b1.jpg
Also have this species, the Fuscous Swallowtail. ( Papilio fuscus ) The caterpillars of this one feed on citrus leaves in the Darwin region, as well as other species of plants ie: my Murraya shrub. The  young caterpillars are cleverly disguised to resemble bird poo so as not to attract predators. They change shape and colour as they get older.
20200302_114728.thumb.jpg.73458c4f8999766854dd17ba8d19fdaf.jpg

89031791_10221415315555279_1489815183072165888_o.jpg.61bf2c0349339755c09f9e4b96309080.jpg
 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tropicbreeze
6 hours ago, greysrigging said:

This guy having a spell under my house...'Common Crow' butterfly ( Euploea core ). Quite common in my garden

Also have this species, the Fuscous Swallowtail. ( Papilio fuscus ) The caterpillars of this one feed on citrus leaves in the Darwin region, as well as other species of plants ie: my Murraya shrub. The  young caterpillars are cleverly disguised to resemble bird poo so as not to attract predators. They change shape and colour as they get older.
 

It's name now is Euploea corinna. Used to be E. core ssp. corinna but the 'splitters' got in and there you have it.

They haven't got to Papilio fuscus (yet) so it's still P. fuscus ssp. canopus. They're not appreciated in Citrus orchards (the butterflies that is, not the splitters).

The larva of E. corinna look great.

gwmr14030805.jpg.492e571b8bbf16f4a66a968028dfca71.jpg

  • Like 4
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Silas_Sancona

Thanks to our un expectedly wet winter, these guys are out in force, sometimes drifting inside to hangout and watch some T.V.  while hanging from the ceiling or resting on a wall.. While possibly imposing to the intentionally miss-informed, No need to grab a Fly Swater, or fear impending doom from a prehistoric-sized blood sucker.. No relation to Mosquitoes and absolutely harmless, and play a very vital role in recycling decomposing leaves, etc into the soil. They're also a very important food source for birds, reptiles and other insect eaters this time of year. After emerging,  sole purpose is to find a mate,  do their thing ..and die.. If they eat anything on the wing, it's nectar. 

An interesting side note, locally native species can remain in their larval stage for several years if conditions aren't right for them to emerge and complete their life cycle. While there may only be a few species that can withstand life underground in the low Desert, up in the mountains and canyon bottoms where it is cooler / moister, there may be a dozen or more species. Only a couple could be considered a potential issue in lawns.

Meet, the humble Crane Fly.. Feared for no reason by some, lazily hanging out somewhere cool in the shade, until a potential mate flits by.. Always trying to avoid hungry birds nearby.

DSC00062.thumb.JPG.63a7f9d45fad7dd50de37c7276239ba5.JPGDSC00080.thumb.JPG.e81f11a284cf49d757e4ba27e965c6a4.JPG

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Silas_Sancona

Some more springtime bugs..

Convergent Ladybug hanging out in a Prickly Pear
DSC00153.JPG.2008800736362f1c55b6a29a90740f13.JPG

Checkered White ( Pontia protodice ) Likely Female. Males typically lack the patterning on the back of the wings.
DSC00160.JPG.b1e1433a28229c5197befd9e7479c9c8.JPG

DSC00163.thumb.JPG.0eff930e6094b4e806e28b9892d50a99.JPG

Your neighborhood Honeybee at work. Noticed both Carpenter Bees, and a couple of our locally native, ground nesting Solitary Bee sp. out and about today as well.
DSC00151.thumb.JPG.263e7d35f96f1151d49a7640dbf61a69.JPG

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Silas_Sancona

More Flutter-bys  hanging out while working out front today.

Painted Lady, Vanessa cardui inspecting flowers of Little Leaf Cordia, Cordia parvifolia. We'll see if the abundant rains this year trigger another mass migration like last year.
DSC00199.thumb.JPG.369edfaf5ba695100ce59af3ea52315b.JPG

DSC00200.thumb.JPG.6e2afa733f4b18de8950d793dfdcec6b.JPG

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tropicbreeze
18 hours ago, greysrigging said:

A local beetle, Rhino Beetle ( possibly  Haploscapanes barbarossa )
20200323_102946.thumb.jpg.f9e308e25cb036d9fb613abedd1ae96e.jpg

 

 

Looks like it's Xylotrupes australicus. The 'horn' on the head is divided and the two projections on the thorax are close together.

gwn11032613.jpg.187c961642bb7e208acbb21e2333a759.jpg


In Haploscapanes barbarossa the head 'horn' is undivided and the two projections on the thorax are wider apart.

gwmr09033109.thumb.JPG.90a5a97039f3af923b4a9812591f33f8.JPG

 

That's my understanding of the differences. I get both species at my place so they'll both be all over the Darwin area.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
greysrigging

Bunkered down in the 'Fortress of Solitude" (  otherwise known as my back yard ) gives me chance to photograph some local butterflies and moths.
These ones are Purple Oak-blue Butterflies (Arhopala eupolis), the name referring to the iridescent colours on the top of the wings. They are fairly nondescript looking, except when in flight, they show off a brilliant blue as they zoom past.. Note the little tails on the hindwing. A common food plant around Darwin is Maranthes corymbosa.


 

90276701_3394272580589487_8854134999792746496_n.jpg

90975208_3394272663922812_175830102762848256_n.jpg

91503186_10221714133505541_2726341228277792768_o.jpg

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tropicbreeze
1 hour ago, greysrigging said:

Bunkered down in the 'Fortress of Solitude" (  otherwise known as my back yard ) gives me chance to photograph some local butterflies and moths.
These ones are Purple Oak-blue Butterflies (Arhopala eupolis), the name referring to the iridescent colours on the top of the wings. They are fairly nondescript looking, except when in flight, they show off a brilliant blue as they zoom past.. Note the little tails on the hindwing. A common food plant around Darwin is Maranthes corymbosa.

91503186_10221714133505541_2726341228277792768_o.jpg

 

 

That's a great photo, hard to get them with their wings open showing the colour. The larvae are looked after by Green Ants.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
greysrigging
5 minutes ago, tropicbreeze said:

 

That's a great photo, hard to get them with their wings open showing the colour. The larvae are looked after by Green Ants.

And I have to admit, its not my pic, posted by Tissa Ratnayeke, who runs the NT Field Naturalists FB page. The other pics are mine in the garden this arvo....
So, the Green Ant farming is interesting.... is there some benefit to the Green Ants re this looking after ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tropicbreeze
17 hours ago, greysrigging said:

And I have to admit, its not my pic, posted by Tissa Ratnayeke, who runs the NT Field Naturalists FB page. The other pics are mine in the garden this arvo....
So, the Green Ant farming is interesting.... is there some benefit to the Green Ants re this looking after ?

I know Tissa, have you seen his camera? The relationship between ants and aphids is probably the best known association that ants have with other creatures. But there are a number of butterflies which have the same type of relationship - protection for the caterpillars in exchange for food for the ants.

This is another of the Oak Blues, Arhopala micale (Shining Oak Blue). They have the same blue on the upper surfaces of the wings but I've never managed to get a photo with their wings open. Just one where half a hindwing had been bitten off and you can see the blue on the other.

gwn12052603.jpg.65e720886fdfb0db59a3ac0bba0a6ebb.jpg

 

There is however a sinister relationship between one carnivorous butterfly here and ants and that's Liphyra brassolis, or Moth Butterfly. The larvae have a flattened body with tough skin and an impressive set of mandibles. They get into the Green Ant nests and eat the ant larvae. They pupate within their tough skin. On emerging they're covered with a lot of scales that are shed when the ants try to grab them.

gwn12111703.jpg.0268e560d41022e5926271acac092afa.jpg

 

 

 

  • Like 2
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
greysrigging
On 3/30/2020 at 10:17 AM, tropicbreeze said:

I know Tissa, have you seen his camera? The relationship between ants and aphids is probably the best known association that ants have with other creatures. But there are a number of butterflies which have the same type of relationship - protection for the caterpillars in exchange for food for the ants.

This is another of the Oak Blues, Arhopala micale (Shining Oak Blue). They have the same blue on the upper surfaces of the wings but I've never managed to get a photo with their wings open. Just one where half a hindwing had been bitten off and you can see the blue on the other.

gwn12052603.jpg.65e720886fdfb0db59a3ac0bba0a6ebb.jpg

 

There is however a sinister relationship between one carnivorous butterfly here and ants and that's Liphyra brassolis, or Moth Butterfly. The larvae have a flattened body with tough skin and an impressive set of mandibles. They get into the Green Ant nests and eat the ant larvae. They pupate within their tough skin. On emerging they're covered with a lot of scales that are shed when the ants try to grab them.

gwn12111703.jpg.0268e560d41022e5926271acac092afa.jpg

 

 

 

Some info from Tissa re this species
This is a remarkable story about the relationship between the caterpillars of the Shining (Common) Oakblue butterfly (Arhopala micale) and Green Tree Ants. Given half a chance, ants would normally eat caterpillars but in this instance they actually protect and guard the caterpillar 24 hours a day. Surrounded by its protective ants, the caterpillar shelters during the day in a curled up leaf or inside a green ant nest. As darkness sets, the extraordinary sight of what appears to be a slow moving mass of ants will emerge from the entrance, a closer inspection revealing it's actually the caterpillar setting out to feed on leaves, with the protective group of ants running around on its back. Well, what's in it for the ants, they get to feed on what appears to be irresistible liquid secretions produced by special glands on the caterpillars back.
 

43586589_10217083082972172_3122503376663740416_o.jpg

43828194_10217083082732166_7133596664660492288_o.jpg

43828362_10217083082812168_7393118513038098432_o.jpg

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
greysrigging

March/April is the peak butterfly season in Darwin....here's a couple more.
Common/Varied Eggfly ( Hypolimnas bolina ) Male and female look like different species.
Females...

91540826_3403947269622018_8707625977334726656_n.jpg.5a5c1972c3eb49542b0e29cbb1d5cd15.jpg91793794_3403947179622027_5109541653668954112_n.jpg.fb4403e5c2b4dee67c252a0d6e1a2e70.jpg91899071_3403947336288678_1165609203071451136_n.jpg.96157cc47f1c1df75b0b08984da74d1f.jpg92022643_3403947222955356_9127034262548119552_n.jpg.5b97a27bff16234888842d60f535331b.jpg
And the male
91600632_10221765384866793_613073282622554112_o.jpg.ca96812c2a743897d0b21dc913eb9373.jpg
This is one of the Hesperiid/Skippers. Many of their caterpillars look similar - palms or grass usual options depending on species. Many Hesperiids look like this orange one. So yeah, chomping on my MacArthur palms....
223867338_91511140_3403903736293038_1728816154450853888_o(1).jpg.6eb1318573dcb18dafdb2dce203dfc85.jpg92137756_10221765422387731_5137556097548156928_o.jpg.b2a73e4baf1a3a48f0ece1a2845b1d97.jpg


 

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Silas_Sancona

Some Birds n' Bees of the desert..

While out front clearing poppies / cleaning things up, have taken greater notice of the various bees that have been hanging around the front yard this year and have noticed an interesting pattern. For the most part, the atypical European Honey bee sticks to such things as the Poppies, Desert marigold, and Desert Bluebells.. On the other hand, some of the native, solitary-type species prefer specific plants.. Bees, like the ground nesting "diggers" ( pics # 3, 4 ), visit the Bluebells, native Senna, and Brittlebush.  While i don't have a solid ID on this one yet, likely a member of the Long Horned group, this guy below ( pics #1, 2 ) specifically prefers the Globemallow, visiting nothing else nearby as i sat and observed it and a couple others moving around the yard..
DSC06984.thumb.JPG.298334be37b022e5549d043b98f73b6a.JPG

DSC06987.thumb.JPG.17ae9fa83f9c0ee256b9168c97ff0db6.JPG


DSC07010.thumb.JPG.e3761aa7244e0fdb074b1d2a22453a92.JPG

DSC07348.thumb.JPG.9ed3cec62b9c73e2510e2c87bbcac67d.JPG


Northern Mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos keeping watch atop Guaiacum coulteri. Interesting that this guy hangs around while i'm clearing out the poppies and will immediately descend from above to investigate newly open space less than 10ft from where i'm positioned. While they don't fear humans much, especially when nesting.. this one is pretty bold. Might be the same neighborhood bird that sang through the night on and off most of last Spring/ early Summer.
DSC07380.thumb.JPG.f113bd978db94232e94accecc147ecd3.JPG


First time visit from a normally shy Sonoran Desert icon..  Gambel's Quail, Callipepla gambelii. Very common sight scuttering underfoot out in more open desert/ suburb areas with more yard space. Not exactly a common sight in highly developed/ more crowded parts of town. Unlike the similar looking California Quail, Gambel's prefers more space / less human interaction though they can get used to human presence if they have plenty of space to explore/ shelter in when startled. While the pictures aren't perfect, distinguishing features are easy to see.  Saw his shadow as he climbed down the roof before he flew up into the Mesquite.. 
DSC07390.thumb.JPG.fd248f679d4ccd68f1d282a47e005fc7.JPG

DSC07394.thumb.JPG.12f42657973930f86e0c83593273284f.JPG

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Butch

Well, the desert ain't deserted... Lottsa critters out there.. Just gotta look... Cool...

 

Butch

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jimmyt

Butterflies in central TX on the blooms of red tip photinias....

Monarch.jpg

Female TS.jpg

tiger swallowtail2.jpg

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Silas_Sancona

Not the best pictures, but caught sight of an spring visitor passing through on its way to spend the summer somewhere in the Pac. Northwest, Townsend's Warbler, Setophaga townsendi.  Tough bird to photograph ( esp. w/ this camera ) since they like to stay high up in the Mesquite, and don't stay perched in one spot for more than a few seconds.  Only local Warbler sp. with a Black throat / Black and Yellow striped cheeks / Yellow breast.
DSC07687.JPG.9178b87beace5e4aba83859cb2a8a7cb.JPG

DSC07690.JPG.09f40bf47fb542868468bc52e71af25d.JPG

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Butch

Not my garden, but the desert of 1940.. My Mom took this pic of some Desert Kit Foxes..

LoaMWaq.jpg

Butch

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tropicbreeze

These are regular visitors to my place during the wet season, Varanus mertensi or Water Monitor, or Water Goanna. Never more than two at a time, and even then they never hang around close together. They've long believed in social distancing. Obviously at some stage some get together but have never observed it here.

They took a big hit when Cane Toads arrived but have been making a come back over the last few years. This year there have been at least three here. They're difficult to pick apart, can only tell when there's an obvious size difference, or from their behaviour.

This one is about 70 cms long. A larger one earlier this year was almost twice that size. Three other species of Goanna I have yet to see return since the arrival of Cane Toads.

gwn20041502.jpg.1f3f4c56c9dd715d267e479f1a7fa9c1.jpg

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Silas_Sancona

Today's Earth Day guest, Xeromelecta californica,  California Cuckoo Bee. In spite of the species name, it is native to California, most the Southwestern U.S., Mexico, and into Central America.  Same species i couldn't ID in an earlier post.  While roughly half of the Globe mallow are still flowering, these bees seem to have moved on to the last of the Desert Marigold and Angelita Daisies in the yard. Interesting trait i noticed, while most bees will close their wings while exploring flowers, these continue to flap/ vibrate their wings while exploring.
DSC07756.thumb.JPG.2edfd889727d004c4a11ddd2304bc41d.JPG

DSC07757.thumb.JPG.f8ede1d94a1286f7fbdb121e99b1124b.JPG

DSC07759.thumb.JPG.9d2916ecc221017c543c358d11ab95c0.JPG

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
greysrigging

 Typical web of juvenile cross spider- Argiope species. The cross develops as they mature.. this web only about 3" in dia at the moment. When mature, the spiders can build a web 6' ( yes, feet, not inches ! ) in diameter.... yikes !! I can tell, there is no drug on the planet that can get the blood pumping, the heart rate pulsing and the adrenaline coursing through ya veins than to inadvertently walk through one of these 6 foot webs on a garden jungle path....haha !
Juvenile and its first web.

94257778_3458657054151039_5789232456032845824_n.jpg.a19831f61befb0f68237516454065144.jpg

94385110_3458657110817700_3234271134513889280_n.jpg.b1ce38f1ef23234111249fc74bc8c823.jpg
Mature specimen.
90305454_561585414475008_5156669440749731840_n.jpg.3d09140b60e9d4ec6fcdb65c336bbbf6.jpg

91464742_10159513646842519_3329676845082738688_n.jpg.62d04c7bdfaf333149924e400546c920.jpg

  • Like 2
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tropicbreeze
On 4/25/2020 at 1:09 PM, greysrigging said:

 Typical web of juvenile cross spider- Argiope species. The cross develops as they mature.. this web only about 3" in dia at the moment. When mature, the spiders can build a web 6' ( yes, feet, not inches ! ) in diameter.... yikes !! I can tell, there is no drug on the planet that can get the blood pumping, the heart rate pulsing and the adrenaline coursing through ya veins than to inadvertently walk through one of these 6 foot webs on a garden jungle path....haha !
 

That's Argiope radon, Radon Saint Andrew's Cross Spider. There are also a couple of other Argiope species spiders in the Top End. Similar appearances and habits.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jimmyt

snake.jpg

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hillizard
On 4/24/2020 at 8:39 PM, greysrigging said:

 Typical web of juvenile cross spider- Argiope species. The cross develops as they mature.. this web only about 3" in dia at the moment. When mature, the spiders can build a web 6' ( yes, feet, not inches ! ) in diameter.... yikes !! I can tell, there is no drug on the planet that can get the blood pumping, the heart rate pulsing and the adrenaline coursing through ya veins than to inadvertently walk through one of these 6 foot webs on a garden jungle path....haha !
Juvenile and its first web.


 

Once when I was walking along a 'jungle path' at Fairchild Gardens I walked right into one of these webs. I started flapping my arms around to get free of the entanglement. A passing tram of tourists must have thought I was having some type of mental fit! :lol:

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Silas_Sancona
7 hours ago, Hillizard said:

Once when I was walking along a 'jungle path' at Fairchild Gardens I walked right into one of these webs. I started flapping my arms around to get free of the entanglement. A passing tram of tourists must have thought I was having some type of mental fit! :lol:

Of all the critters i didn't encounter when i lived there, but had hoped to.. it was Trichonephila clavipes, the Golden Silk Spider which make giant webs like a lot of the Argiope.  On the other hand, there were many nights spent trying to avoid webs spanned across a trail leading to a popular weekend or after hours spot at a local lake  ..at night.. when i lived in Kansas.. Never saw the spider but yea, lol.. Lots of flapping of arms / shrieks from female friends /my ex girlfriend at the time. learned to carry a stick, a long stick with when out there.

There's a video somewhere of some type of spider native to Madagascar making it's web across a ..river.. Imagine getting snared in that while rafting. Don't mind these kind of spiders but yikes, lol

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tropicbreeze

Some spiders like their women big...... like extra BIG!  Especially true of Nephila pilipes (Golden Orb Weaver). A very common spider that ranges from India across to east Asia and down to Australia. They like to build their huge webs across garden paths and driveways as these are flyways for insects and provide a good food source.

I often run into them when out on a toad hunt at night. Usually have the torch shining on the ground and end up walking into the webs. The advantage of them being such large spiders is that the webs are very strong (can catch small birds).  If you walk into the web it won't break and backing off it'll pull away from your face without leaving bits sticking to your face. Never wave your arms around, you'll only end up with it all over yourself with the likelihood the spider will get caught up in it as well and be trapped against your body.

This one in the garden measured up a body length of about 40mm, hind legs about 60mm, fore legs about 115mm. The overall span of the spider in a relaxed pose (legs naturally curved) is about 170mm.

gwn14022116b.jpg.2c36b4e7f55655cd00f9879ed4de88d2.jpg

Nephila pilipes female with three hopeful male suitors.

bc15041935b.jpg.f0af8439d15d291200e2e2c6f9e88678.jpg

 

bc15041936.jpg.53bceab638c591e5650acd5018704a9b.jpgwelcome many

The females welcome many males, they end up eating most of them.

bc15041938b.jpg.d64ae2b26c74eb44f584475d48452290.jpg

 

  • Like 5
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
steve99

xmAHBEb.jpg

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Daryl
20 hours ago, steve99 said:

xmAHBEb.jpg

Nice Swampy Steve!

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Silas_Sancona

..A potentially very un-welcome garden visitor: Say hello, then run like "heck" from.. the "Murder Hornet"  Which recently turned up.. up in the Pac. Northwest U.S. 

"Murder Hornet"?  2020 weirdness?  Yep :bemused:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/02/us/asian-giant-hornet-washington.html

Edited by Silas_Sancona
edit
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hillizard
18 minutes ago, Silas_Sancona said:

..A potentially very un-welcome garden visitor: Say hello, then run like "heck" from.. the "Murder Hornet"  Which recently turned up.. up in the Pac. Northwest U.S. 

"Murder Hornet"?  2020 weirdness?  Yep :bemused:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/02/us/asian-giant-hornet-washington.html

Eventually there may be a "war" when "Murder Hornets" meet "Killer Bees" somewhere in the U.S. Would make a great subject for a B(ee)-movie. :floor:

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Silas_Sancona
1 minute ago, Hillizard said:

Eventually there may be a "war" when "Murder Hornets" meet "Killer Bees" somewhere in the U.S. Would make a great subject for a B(ee)-movie. :floor:

Its 2020.. Throw in some UFOs and you have the perfect plot. :floor::floor2:

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
waykoolplantz

32967680-4BFD-45C8-A550-20A251039AC7.jpeg

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
steve99
On 5/2/2020 at 6:36 PM, Daryl said:

Nice Swampy Steve!

 

Yep, I reckon that's a fair assessment.   It's certainly different in appearance from the Red necked Wallaby pics I posted on the previous page, although a very similar in size

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Palmaceae

20200410_113402(0).jpg

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Daryl
On 5/6/2020 at 1:28 AM, steve99 said:

Yep, I reckon that's a fair assessment.   It's certainly different in appearance from the Red necked Wallaby pics I posted on the previous page, although a very similar in size

Hehe...my very first photo that I started this thread with...same species... :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Silas_Sancona

While perhaps not visitors to my garden, encountered two very unique " Desert Dwellers " while out collecting seed ..and more gravel.. among a garden of rocks.. 

As most people know, the Sonoran Desert hosts a myriad of critters many of which are often quite attractive. While most are harmless, some should be respected and observed from a distance, or left alone entirely..  While most people think venomous snakes as being the biggest " hazard " while out exploring the desert, sometimes, it is the smallest, or slowest of critters that can present more danger. In other cases, the "fear" of certain critters is more over blown than actual.. Regardless, if it is brightly colored, you probably should " ooh and aww " from a distance.. and see the encounter as what it is, a valuable moment where nature is teaching you something.. Unfortunately, in a few cases, there is still a lot that humans need to learn. Some of the region's most feared animals may help us fight off various diseases.. 

Iron Cross Blister Beetle, Tegrodera aloga While a stunning sight slowly meandering through some nearby grass while looking over some nearby cacti, the bright colors tell you exactly what you need to know.. Leave me be..  While they don't bite or sting,  these insects excrete a powerful toxin called Cantharidin  both through their legs and antenna if handled.. A few hours later, the toxin can cause extremely painful blistering of the skin. While most people would never do so, the toxin can prove fatal if the insect is eaten.. Unfortunately, animals such as Horses, pets or Cattle aren't as aware and can be killed either from directly consuming the insect, or grazing plants which may also contain feeding beetles since they tend to feed in groups on favored plants when out roaming in late spring.. While i have never spied any, they do occasionally turn up in residential areas. Unlike Bark Scorpions, i'm sure there are people who would not think these could be harmful and attempt handling.   Again, those bright colors?  the clearest warning there is..
DSC08196.JPG.276db21eabaeb8412b303f2f72f4dfce.JPG

DSC08197.JPG.5e063dc4eee679d5ec950ac201e1d36e.JPG

DSC08198.thumb.JPG.04e87901a6c450455c66dc00f4c42be3.JPG

As with many other toxic creatures, there is a " on the other hand " side to the story.  Simply put, the toxin Cantharidin is used as a powerful topical for Warts and Tattoo removal.. It is also being investigated for potential Cancer treatments.



While rattlesnakes get most of the attention when it comes to potentially dangerous reptiles here, the Sonoran Desert is also home to one of two venomous lizards native to North America..  Unfortunately,  the fear of this animal is far worse than the animal itself and unfortunately has cost this animal in many ways..  While i have been hoping to encounter one since moving here, today's encounter was a bit saddening..

The Gila Monster, Heloderma suspectum is another of the regions iconic, and frequently miss- understood, animals.  More often than not, an encounter with one might see the lizard hiss at you a little as it wanders away.. slowly.. Unlike some of the Rattlers which will stand their ground if/when cornered, Gilas typically just want to find a place to hide. One has to really pursue.. and try handling one to get bit. That said, a lizard that can reach a length of 2ft, yet appears quite sluggish, is capable of a swift bite, being able to swing it's head back to it's tail. Unlike Rattlers, venom is produced in saliva glands in the lower jaw of Gila Monsters and they must " chew in " the toxin to get it to work. That said, they have a pretty powerful bite/ sharp teeth and aren't easily removed. One risks some pretty serious lacerations if attempting to yank the lizard free.

While considered about as toxic as venom produced by the much more dangerous Western Diamondback Rattlesnake, Gila Monsters seldom produce much in one bite and usually won't be fatal to most healthy adults..  there hasn't been a fatal bite from these lizards recorded since the 1930s.  Of those that were fatal, recorded before the 1930s, the people bitten were likely quite intoxicated prior to the encounter.

That said, even to this day, the negative stigma surrounding this animal continues both here in Arizona, and region wide.. Here in the state, it is a federal crime to harass or capture these lizards. Even with the hefty fines/ jail time, there are news reports every so often of people killing or harming them.. On top of threats from un -educated people, changes in the climate here may cause bigger concerns as Gila Monsters are kind of a " Goldie locks " kind of animal.. They like particular conditions.. Not too hot, not too cold..  As the region gets hotter, these lizards may disappear from more places in search of others, if they can get to them.

While some persecute them,  again, this animal may one day save someone's life..  in 2005, the drug Exenatide was brought to market to help people dealing with type 2- Diabetes. Most probably don't realize that drug was derived from this animal's toxic spit, lol.. Going further, other components of that " spit " are being carefully studied for potential treatments for Alzheimer's, Schizophrenia, and ADHD.. And yet some won't hesitate to run them over, or worse.. when encountered..

In today's encounter with this special critter, it's demise is likely an accident..  An unfortunate mistake of hanging out on this warm blacktop a bit too long this morning.. Regardless, after pulling over after i noticed it in the road, carefully picked it up and moved to a shady final resting place beneath a Palo Verde nearby..  where it will serve as another valuable lesson, the cycle of life and renewal in the desert..
DSC08279.JPG.d59ff8f024434dc06689f872efa2c20a.JPG

 

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...