Pretty Grisette aka Vermillion Amanita – A Red Toadstool

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Amanita xanthocephala aka Pretty Grisette, Vermillion Amanita
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Amanita xanthocephala aka Pretty Grisette, Vermillion Amanita
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Amanita xanthocephala aka Pretty Grisette, Vermillion Amanita (Juvenile form)
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Amanita xanthocephala aka Pretty Grisette, Vermillion Amanita (Juvenile form)

Amanita xanthocephala aka Pretty Grisette, Vermillion Amanita, Vermillion Grisette, Amanitopsis pulchella
Kingdom: Fungi
Phylum/Division: Basidiomycota
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Agaricales
Family: Amanitaceae
Wottons Scrub, Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park, South Australia – June 14th, 2014 – soggy, wet, cool conditions

Photos & Text: Michal Dutkiewicz

Although poisonous, and closely related to the introduced species Amanita muscaria, this pretty, indigenous fungus emerges from the floor of Eucalypt forests like a sphere of yellow gelati while still covered in the juvenile down so characteristic of the family – This species has an ectomycorrhizal relationship with Eucalyptus. It occurs in south-west Western Australia, and in the forests of South Australia and around up into southern Queensland.

There is some radial grooving on the cap and that and its tendency to smaller size helps distinguish it from the introduced species Amanita muscaria  . It is quite common and may occur singly or in groups, although I have only seen it singly.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amanita_xanthocephala
http://fungimap.org.au/index.php/fduonline-home/22/294/agarics/P-amanita-xanthocephala

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Green Orb-Weaver Spider

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Eriophora circulissparsus aka Araneus circulissparsus
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Eriophora circulissparsus aka Araneus circulissparsus
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Eriophora circulissparsus aka Araneus circulissparsus
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Eriophora circulissparsus aka Araneus circulissparsus

Eriophora circulissparsus aka Araneus circulissparsus
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Suborder: Araneomorphae
Family: Araneidae
Mount Barker (Longleat Property) – December 15th, 2014

Photos & Text: Karin Dawson

Of the 30 spider genera in Australia, Eriphora is the largest with 110 recorded species. This genus comprises the Orb Weavers, which construct distinctive wheel-shaped webs at dusk. None of the Eriphora are venomous to humans.

Eriophora circulissparsus (formerly Araneus circulissparsus) is a pretty light green orb weaver with a yellow abdomen, beautifully patterned with red and green markings. This is a nocturnal species, and not often seen. I have encountered E. circulissparsus three times in my garden over the last several months. The first two sightings were during the day, and the spiders were resting amongst daisy flowers and leaves. The third sighting was at sunset, where the spider was hard at work constructing her web.

E. circulissparsus is a relatively small species, with the female averaging 5 – 7 mm in diameter, though each of my three individuals measured 8 – 10 mm.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eriophora

White-faced Heron

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Egretta novaehollandiae aka White-faced Heron

Egretta novaehollandiae aka White-faced Heron
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Pelecaniformes
Family: Ardeidae
Findon, South Australia – April 20th, 2014

Photo: Aldo Trissi

This text is quoted from the excellent bird book “Fleurieu Birds” by Peter Gower:
“Size: 66-70cm. A common water bird seen on most wet areas. Becomes relaxed to human activities around towns and farms.`Feeds on crustaceans, small fish, frogs, tadpoles etc. Nests from September to November. Three to five eggs are laid in a shallow stick nest normally higher than 5 metres.”

I will add that the male breeding plumage, like most Egrets, is very elegant and consists of longer decorative feathers – There is a view of this on this Wikipedia Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White-faced_heron

Peter Gower’s book is my go-to book for bird sightings – It is such an easy view and so fast to peruse – It is available from the South Australian Museum Shop, or you can see Peter’s work in the following Link:

http://gowerphotos.tripod.com/

The Scarlet Robin

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Petroica boodang aka Scarlet Robin

Petroica boodang aka Scarlet Robin
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Petroicidae
Kaiserstuhl Conservation Park, South Australia – July 19th, 2014

Photo: Aldo Trissi

Thanks to Aldo Trissi for this great shot – The Scarlet Robin has more black on the throat, whereas the similar Flame Robin has a more vivid orangy colour and that colour goes up closer to the beak – This is a male.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scarlet_robin

Juncus pallidus – The Pale Rush

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Juncus pallidus aka Pale Rush

Juncus pallidus aka Pale Rush
Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum (?): Angiosperms
Class (?): Monocots
Subclass (?): Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Juncaceae
St PetersBillabong, South Australia – December 23rd, 2013 – sunny conditions after a severe windstorm

Photo: Michal Dutkiewicz

From Wikipedia:
“Juncus pallidus, commonly known as the Pale Rush, is a species of rush that is native to southern Australia. It is a vigorous, tufted, tussock-forming, rhizomatous perennial herb with culms growing to 70–135 cm in height. The inflorescence, which is 25–185 mm long, contains many straw coloured flowers, each with six floral segments. It is usually found in moist, nutrient-poor soils subject to periodic flooding, such as fresh and brackish waterways, including swamps, creek banks, lake edges and sand seeps.”
Thanks to Michael Starkey for the ID.

http://www.friendsofknocklofty.org/flora-g.html#g-4
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juncus_pallidus
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juncus

Long-nosed Weevil – A Very Endearing Leaf-muncher!

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Rhinotia hemistictus aka Long-nosed Weevil
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Rhinotia hemistictus aka Long-nosed Weevil
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Rhinotia hemistictus aka Long-nosed Weevil
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Rhinotia hemistictus aka Long-nosed Weevil

Rhinotia hemistictus aka Long-nosed Weevil
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Superfamily: Curculionoidea
Family: Belidae
Montacute Conservation Park – November 15th, 2014 – mild to warm, overcast conditions

Photos & Text: Michal Dutkiewicz

These were found on what I believe were Acacia pycnantha trees, at least 200 yards apart on different tracks, and I think they were feeding, although in my excitement, I didn’t take much notice – All I could think was “Get the shot!”: – I had wanted to photograph a species like this for years – macro photography has finally given me the opportunity to explore the realm of the mini-marvels that reside all around us. I haven’t been able to find out much about this species yet.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhinotia_hemistictus

http://anic.ento.csiro.au/insectfamilies/biota_details.aspx?OrderID=25407&BiotaID=44456&PageID=families

Red Bull Ant – Scariest Ant I have Ever Seen!

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Myrmecia gulosa aka Giant Red Bull Ant, Hoppy Joe
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Myrmecia gulosa aka Giant Red Bull Ant, Hoppy Joe

Myrmecia gulosa aka Giant Red Bull Ant, Hoppy Joe
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Aldinga Scrub, South Australia – August 16th, 2014 – moving over sand and leaf litter carrying a larva (species unknown) in its jaws

Photos & Text: Michal Dutkiewicz

Respect this creature’s territory! – Its bite usually causes pain that lasts for two days, but it can be fatal, causing anaphylactic shock. It has good eyesight, and will eyeball intruders and come after them. It is regarded as a primitive Ant, and solitary individuals are usually seen wandering the ground or up tree trunks, but they live in colonies – They are one of the largest Ants in the World. The adults do not eat solid food, but feed their larvae such fare – It was interesting seeing this fierce-looking individual making its way over the sand amongst the leaf litter, not producing the usual hostile display, even though I was quite close – It was carrying the larva in its mandibles, but I am not sure if this was food for the not-so-little ones or was a young one being relocated. They don’t sense chemicals like most ants, apparently, but rely on their eyesight – Once more – Beware!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myrmecia_gulosa

http://home.iprimus.com.au/foo7/jumperant.html