Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Monday, February 28, 2011

Corunastylis superba, not only new to me, but rare as...

Corunastylis superba the "Pink Midge Orchid". This species is rare as hen's teeth. According to Alan Stephenson, this species is only known from a few sites, and we tried most of them on Sunday, and we found one plant in flower, and a seedling. That's hardly a good prospect for survival, is it?
Corunastylis superba - click to enlarge image
Note the extremely long "hairs" on the labellum. 
From straight on, you can see the labellum is relatively wide.
My Orchid-chasing colleagues Colin and Mischa Rowan


This next photo has been turned slightly, to straighten the flower
to make it look right.
(Please ignore the rough "filling in" of the corners.)
Just check out the details of the flower.
It has a very long lateral sepals, which are divergent
but pointed out and down,
unlike many of the other species which have the sepals 
curved up in the air.
 This is the same plant (the only one we found).
The colour is completely natural, as I was not using a flash.
 Here it is again, with a slightly lighter background 
to help you see it better.

And now for something completely different - a large green Katydid.
It looks upside down, because that's how these creatures like to hang out. Apparently they assume this position if calling to their partners (stridulating).
Note the very long antennae. The tips are marked on the image.
Katydid - a large green specimen.

This is possibly the Common Garden Katydid - Caedicia simplex.*** If it isn't then it is pretty close to it. The main query in my mind is that this insect was on top of the Sandstone Ridge above Bulee Gap, between Nerriga and Sassafras, on "Main Road 92", in low heathy shrubbery over sandstone rock shelves. Hardly "Garden" habitat.
*** Dr Dave Rentz advises: "It's probably an Elephantodeta or, perhaps, a Tinzeda. Definitely not a Caedicia". Thanks Dave.


Snail said...

Just the one ... that's not good. Let's hope there were more but they were so well hidden among the rest of the ground cover that they eluded even the expert eye.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Snail - your comment is spot on.
Alan had searched this area for about an hour the week before. Three of us spent another half hour searching an area of 200 metres x 50 metres.
Low scrubby heath plants, but hard to find an Orchid between them.

mick said...

I am impressed with the time spent finding one orchid! Of course - it's time well spent since you found it. Any ideas why there are so few - and why it's survival is apparently so tenuous?

Gouldiae said...

G'day Denis,
You keep coming up with stunning discoveries. Must be very rewarding to find something so rare.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Mick
Well, its what you would do with a report of a rare Wader, isn't it? Look till you find it.
Actually, the whole trip yielded 3 localised species. This one, yesterday's Mongarlowe Midge Orchid and one other stray. So that's not too bad.
This Orchid seems to like high locations, but the country is so remote, it is likely that it is hiding away in some other place we don't get to look at very often. Lets hope so.
The Roads and Traffic Authority has just finished a huge road building project int e area, so it is possible this plant was disturbed in that process, although my colleague Alan told them where not to go.
Trouble is, one can only work from existing knowledge, when doing that.
Also, it is invisible when not in flower - a single thin grass-like leaf, sticking straight up does not make it easy to find, except when in flower.
And it is deciduous (goes dormant) for 8 months of the year.
That makes it hard too.
But we try.
We try.

Mr. Smiley said...

Hi Denis
That's a nice katydid. It's probably an Elephantodeta or, perhaps, a Tinzeda. Definitely not a Caedicia. Why it';s upside down, who knows?


Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Mr Katydid.
I knew you couldn't resist a nice fat Katydid.
I was not convinced about the ID - so I hedged my bets somewhat.
Thanks for the tip.
Incidentally, the Strathbogie Ranges people (in my "Aussie Nature Bloggers" listing) have two spectacular Katydids - one stumpy-winged female, dark body, and coloured bands across body, plus male for comparison.
Thanks Dave.
great to have the expert come along to sort me out.

Stewart M said...

Hi there - great pictures of the orchids - I know how hard they can be to find!

Came to your site via a comment on Micks "Sandy Straits and Beyond" and read your comment about the godwits - thought that you may be interested in the newest post on my blog which is also about godwits - and banding them just outside of Melbourne.

You can find it at:

Cheers: Stewart M - Australia

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Stewart
Anyone who can write a blog called "Paying Ready Attention" is on the same wavelength as myself.
I have posted a more detailed response on your blog about banding Godwits.
A topic dear to my heart, although I only ever worked on passerines. Mick and I often swap notes, and I photographed one of the Corner Inlet "flagged" Pied Oystercatchers. Details sent to your Blog as a comment.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Gouldiae
Sorry for the delayed response.
Comment must have gone through to the Spam box. Got it up there now, anyway.
Thanks. I try not to claim credit for "discovering" many of these things, as I was "shown" it by Alan Stephenson. We did search for others, but not successfully (except for a small seedling which probably will not flower this year).
Anyway, we did go on further, and "find" lots of previously unknown specimens of other species.
Its always a challenge.
In my local area, I am pretty good at "finding" new plants. Its largely a question of looking and looking and looking.
I am sure you know about that.