Monday, 4 February 2008

Life on Baw Baw is wild

Butterflies by the thousand, moths flying in the day time, skinks everywhere, ants of course, and grasshoppers - the Baw Baw plateau was alive.

The best butterfly, that we could identify, was a Macleay's Swallowtail. It was flying very strongly and rapidly, especially above the trees on the very top of Mt Baw Baw. Apparently that's what the males do, fly about on the top of hills. It's a very impressive butterfly when seen up close, but never sat still long enough to photograph.

But I did get a photo of these three grasshoppers. They must have very good eyesight because the first one didn't move from his spot when I moved in closer, but kept dodging around the stalk when I tried to get a side view of him. I have no idea what it is, nor the one on my boot, but the last (out of focus) photo is a Spotted Mountain Grasshopper or Southern Pyrgomorph Monistria concinna. The remarkable thing about this particular grasshopper species is that they have a type of anti-freeze chemical called sorbitol in their body fluid, which enables them to survive beneath the winter snows. The male is the smaller of the two.

Grasshopper_Baw Baw

Grasshopper_Baw Baw

Southern Pyrgomorph

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