Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Friday, November 23, 2007

What type of Insect is this?

Can anyone help me put a general name on this insect? (See Update below)
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I have never seen anything like it, before.
It is not a "bug", nor a beetle. Clearly it is not a "fly" of any type. Unfortunately I did not get a photo of the mouth parts, but you can clearly see there is a long nose of some description. But I could not see the mouth parts, unfortunately.

It has antennae like a Longicorn Beetle (which at its larval stage, is a wood borer) but the wings are not right for a "beetle".

Its wings were about 2 inches long. Clearly the body underneath the wings was long. but I could not see it well. I was reluctant to interfere with it too much, so just "shot" it, where it was sitting, on a Leptospermum branch (Tea Tree), in a swampy area.
The wide shot (when expanded to full size) shows the insect at about full size. My fingers are a little closer to the camera than the insect is, so they appear slightly larger than is real, but the insect is about right. You can judge the size best by the Tea Tree flowers.

UPDATE: It appears to be a "Stonefly". I learnt this from a useful line drawing on the Australian Faunal Directory website - "Groups" section. Scroll down to "Insects - Miscellaneous". The line drawing shows the wings and antennae very accurately. Stoneflies are in the Order "Plecoptera".

I did a Google Image Search on "Stonefly", with excellent results.
Check out this image from an American website.
This link will take you to a full page of information about Stoneflies - which is easy to follow.
  • Stonefly, freshwater aquatic insect, the larvae of which occur on rocks in streams. Stonefly larvae live in cold, gravelly or mucky stream bottoms and are a key food for trout and other fish. Approximately 1600 species of stoneflies are found throughout the world, and more than 450 species occur in North America.
  • Adult stone flies range from 6 to 50 mm (0.25 to 2.0 inches) long. They are dull-colored, commonly gray, brown, green, or yellowish. Adult stoneflies have two pair of membranous wings that fold over the back when at rest. The wings have many veins, and the hind wing is broad at the base and fanlike.
Importantly, for nervous novices like myself, Stoneflies, in the aquatic larval stage, are said to be carnivorous, but as adults they appear to feed on rotten vegetable material. There is no mention of them having any stinging capability. This is borne out by a photo on one of those links (above) of a Stonefly on someone's hand. I was not that brave (not knowing what I was dealing with, at that stage).

Stoneflies appear to be related to Mayflies and Dragonflies, with which they share their aquatic larval development stage, and winged adult stage. But I risk getting out of my depth, at this point, so I shall stop.
*****
Today it was a total grey-out. Tonight it has been raining. We had a black-out (power failure) for about 4 hours tonight, for as yet unexplained reasons. A rainy day, but no wind whatsoever. Very dull weather. Visibility is about 60 metres, at the time of this photograph, which was 11:06am. So you can see how dull the fog makes it, here, on occasions. Pretty remarkable.

1 comment:

Gaye from the Hunter said...

hi Denis,

my first thought was lace wing, the winged stage of an ant-lion, but upon further investigation, the antennae are all wrong.

It is an interesting insect that you've found, and I hope someone can point you in the right direction.

Gaye