by Paul Alessi
Tree Scribbles We've all seen scribbles on gum trees but have you ever really looked at them closely to see what they are all about ? I recently spent a few hours in the bush with retired CSIRO entomologist Max Day who is currently studying the insects that make these scribbles and he said that very little is known about Eucalyptus bark, how and why each species sheds it's bark, the insects that inhabit Eucalyptus bark and in particular the insects that make tree scribbles. Tree scribbles tell the story of the larvae stage of a very small moth, on Scribbly Gum (Eucalyptus rossii) in Windellama they are most likely made by either the Scribbly Gum Moth (Ogmograptis scribula) described by Meyrick in 1935 or a second species that is yet to be named. The starting point of the scribble is where an egg under the bark hatches, each change of direction indicates a moulting point in the larvae's life and the scribble line usually gets thicker at each moult as the creature grows larger. Eventually the larvae reaches a point in it's travels and for reasons best known to itself does a U-Turn travelling back down it's own scribble making a double line before dropping out of the tree to pupate in the leaf litter. After hatching from this stage it emerges as a very small moth and flies away from the leaf litter to look for a mate, it's life as a moth is only a few days and successful females will then lay their eggs on bark where the whole life cycle can be repeated.
More on Black and White Possums After last months article on Black and White Possums I received a phone call from someone who had seen possums like these in the 1970's in bush at Windellama, his description was similar to the others and a key feature in all the sightings were that the possums had a "monkey like tail" and did not resemble Ring-Tail Possums or Greater Gliders.
Deer Seen last month in the Spa Road area was a large buck deer that soared over a barbed wire fence with ease, I saw two Does in the same place last year and others only a few kilometres from Windellama Hall a few years ago. It's hard to say if they are legitimate escapees or were introduced by hunters but if you've lost any deer please give me a ring. Wild deer have been well known in the Tarago Hills for years but not to my knowledge in Windellama before.
Copyright Paul Alessi 2006
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