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"|
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.