Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

200,000 visitors and A Winter Solstice post

Some time in the last week, while I have been not looking, because I have been sick, we crossed the 200 000 threshold of visitors.

To my many patient friends, thank you so much.
To reward you, here is a little present. 


To refresh your memory, this is one of the strange bugs which Kirsten and I found at Meryla Pass. They were identified by some excellent sleuthing by Dave Rentz and then by his ANU associate. Dr Penny Gullan.

Female Callipappus insect - with abdomen fully extended (not yet mated, presumably).
This is a new image.
It shows the "marsupium" of the Callipappus insect, retracted.
To get the point, 
count the body segments visible on the top shot.
Then count back from the last legs.
Then count the body segments visible 
behind the last legs, on this image.
This is what the females look like when they retract the body to form the "marsupium"
As Penny wrote, "The female then pulls her abdomen into her thorax to make a chamber, or marsupium, into which she lays her eggs."

The white fluffy stuff reminds me of the material that "Mealybugs" use to protect themselves. The Mealybug seems to be related (distantly, as far as I can work out) to these Callipappus Insects, which Dave first told me were related to Scale insects (as hard as that was for me to grasp at the time). After looking closely at this image of the obviously pregnant female growing all that white fluffy stuff out of her "pouch", that at least makes a little more sense to me.

The Callipappus "discovery" (not new to science or anything like that), but such a strange creature (with an even stranger mate, if you recall) that it was all new to me, felt like a total revelation of Nature, to me.

Just when I felt I knew a thing or two about the Nature of Robertson, something like these creatures turns up to show how little one really does know.

And that just proves the point that one should always keep on looking, and asking questions about what is there - right in front of one's eyes.


Here is another image, of a lovely winter-flowering Orchid the "Hunchback Orchid" - a variant of a Leek Orchid. It is called Mecopodum striatum.

Click on the image to enlarge it.
It is worth studying, It  has a lovely shape and colour balance.
For a non-showy Orchid it is very, very nice.
Plus it flowers in the bleakest time of the year.
So that makes me like it more than I might otherwise do.

Happy Winter Solstice to all my patient readers.

I have hundreds of photos yet to publish.
But because I have been sick with severe sinusitis
but have still managed to go out on occasions on Orchid trips
I now have a huge backlog.
I have not had the energy to post the images, 
and tell the stories of these expeditions.

Coming back soon, to regular posting I hope.


mick said...

Congrats on your 200,000 visitors! Quite a milestone! The bugs are interesting - the orchids are beautiful - and sorry to hear that the "winter woes" have struck down your way too. The flu and associated problems are all around up here and caught up with me as well.

Lillian & Audrey said...

Hope you are feeling better really soon. Congrats for the Stats! and thanks for all your fascinating posts.

Those Callipappus insects seem so weird at first but how sensible really. They make a nice soft, warm nest that they can carry about with them - What good mothers!

Love the orchids - as always :-)
thanks, Lyndell

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Mick and Lyndell.
It is gratifying to reach a landmark like that.
The fun seems to have gone out of it recently, with me feeling so lousy. But Its nice to have your on-going support.

Anni said...


Anonymous said...

Hi Denis, I've been thinking that something is wrong when you adjust for so long no post. I wish you all good, but above all health.


Denis Wilson said...

Thank you both, Anni and Peter.

Anonymous said...

yes I love those insects, but we need you to get better so we can go out and discover more intersting little critters and plants.
Is the computer still sick too?

Denis Wilson said...

In general I am feeling better - still some coughing.
But I am getting out and about - somewhat.
My Computer has recovered from its virus attack. How is your new one?

Flabmeister said...


G'day from Byron Bay, where the weather is a lot warmer. Sorry to read you have still been crook and hope you will be well in the very near future.

Up this way you would be heartened by the strength of the local attitude against Coal Seam Gas. I will be including sme comments and photos when I do my blog of this trip - about 2 weeks time.

BTW: we passed through Kem,psey 2 days before the road was cut by floods. The big day of rain was 250mm (in 24 hours, not a year)!

Best wishes


Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Martin
Glad you got past Kempsey before the deluge. Echoes of Noah, by the sounds of it. That's a lot of rain.
The Tweed and Lismore people will be pleased to hear that their anti-CSG protests are being noticed by somebody.
I am in contact with them via the Lock The Gate mob.
It really stands to transform the countryside.
And not in a good way!

Travel safely.

wildwings said...

Hi Denis, commiserations re sinusitis and associated poor health. The Callipappus is wonderfully weird and does indeed illustrate your comment that we do need to keep our eyes open and keep our inquiring minds active. We have learnt a lot and gained much enjoyment from our association with other nature bloggers.
Best wishes, Allen and Barbara

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Allan and Barbara for the comment.
The joy of blogging is nicely expressed in your comment - sharing of information.