Saturday, December 11, 2010
Insect safety in numbers
I found these larvae today resting on some gum leaves just hanging around waiting to turn into a leaf eating beetle to strip one of my young eucalyptus trees bare. Approaching them they reared back their heads in unison, pincers held up in defence while squirting out a drop of eucalyptus oil. I usually call them "spitfires" as a common name. I don't know what species of beetle these turn into. They are not unlike the saw-fly larvae which are black and are often found hanging together around a stem or branch. Despite their destructive potential, I couldn't come at squashing them but left them out as a meal ticket for some creature who may not mind their oily taste. And I just had to photograph them sitting on a plate decorated with gum leaves.