Buggin with Bridgey – April  2021

Cairns Botanic Gardens – Let’s Go Buggin Tour Report

School Tours

The first two weeks of April saw the arrival of the first school holiday break for this year, and the first glimpse of life coming back to some sort of normal with no lockdowns in place in our area.  It was really great to get some kids coming to see the Cairns Botanic Gardens, for some of them it was the first time.  It was inspiring to see how much kids enjoy the outdoors and seeing their faces light up when they see our beautiful animals hidden in plain sight.

The children from Peace Lutheran College came on their Let’s Go Buggin Tour, and my beautiful friend Cristina from The Photo Corner came along to capture the day with her camera.  Here are some of my favourite pictures.  Some more can be found on the Aussie Macro Photos Facebook page.

If you are connected with any Cairns schools who would like to organise an excursion, please get in touch.

Let’s Go Buggin Crew from L to R: Kylie from Nature Things Cairns, Bridgette from Aussie Macro Photos, Cairns Mycologist Barry Muir, Cairns Entomologist Tony Postle.  Photo by Cristina @ The Photo Corner.

Peace Lutheran College on Let’s Go Buggin Tour Photos by Cristina @ The Photo Corner

Dragonflies & Damselflies

Currently, we have seen great numbers of dragonflies and damselflies throughout the gardens.  On any walk we could see perhaps 10, and there are some locations where you can see 10 of the same species flying around together.

They make excellent models, often sitting still on a perch, and most people can get up close to capture some great closeups.  Even if they do fly away, they will often come back to the same spot.

If you ever have a chance, I invite you to watch these amazing hunters in action.  They have incredible agility and lightning-fast reflexes to catch unsuspecting insects.  It’s pretty incredible to witness.

Some of the dragonflies and damselflies currently seen on Let’s Go Buggin Tours.

Cricket Update

Back in January’s Buggin with Bridgey, I talked about the sudden arrival of masses of a species of cricket called Cardiodactylus novaeguineae.  Yep, that’s a mouthful, but this species doesn’t have a common name… if you would like to suggest one.. please send me an email!

I’ve been watching this species grow over the last 4 months, and from observation, I think they could be at the peak of their cycle.  I’ve witnessed various mating and singing behaviour, and they seem to be fully grown, and as you can see the obvious changes in their appearance.  The first image is from December, and the second image in April.  

Cardiodactylus novaeguineae crickets in the Cairns Botanic Gardens.

Four O’clock Moth Caterpillars

Happy to see a mini-explosion of Four O’clock Moth Caterpillars (Dysphania fenestrata) on a few of my ‘goto’ spots on my tour.  It’s great to see these little rays of sunshine again.  They are so funny the way they stand up straight to sleep or if they feel disturbed.  One healthy decent-sized host plant had five individuals on it at the same time which was a super-treat to see and the school kids loved this spot on the tour.

closeup of yellow caterpillar on Let's Go Buggin Tours

Four O’clock Moth Caterpillar (Dysphania fenestrata)

Northern Jewel Spider (Gasteracantha fornicata)

Our beautiful spiky spider is appearing in great numbers, counting at least 10 of these individuals on any given walk, without even trying hard to spot them.  I have found them fascinating ever since I first saw one in Rockhampton years ago as I was making my long drive to Cairns from Sydney.  They are such a dominant spider that was even noticed by Banks and Solander in 1770, and thus were collected to be studied, and consequently, they were the first Australian spider to be classified in the European scientific system.  It’s great to see that they are still in great numbers as a healthy species, and there are abundant numbers in the Cairns Botanic gardens.  These spiders aren’t considered a danger to humans.

Closeup of yellow and brown spiky spider Closeup on Let's Go Buggin Tours

Northern Jewel Spider (Gasteracantha fornicata)

Hope to see you on a Let’s Go Buggin our Soon!  Next Blog May.

Bridgette uses Olympus OMD EM1 ii, 60mm M.Zuiko lens and CygnusTech Diffuser.