The Crusader Bug is typically quite a large bug with a long oval body that can produce a strong smell as a deterrent to predators. It is easy to recognise by its yellow cross mark on its back.
The Crusader Bug feeds on a wide range of plants, including wattles, sennas and eucalypts and orchard plants (such as citrus) and garden plants (such as roses). It prefers new shoots and pierces plants with its sucking mouthparts.
The Crusader Bug can live for 3.5 months, and its life cycle from egg to adult is complete in 38 days.
The Emerald Dragonfly is a widespread species which can be found all around Australia. Dragonflies have very good eyesight generally enabling them to avoid spiders’ webs.
The Emerald Dragonfly is a strong flyer and spends most of the time flying in the air often cruising up and down dams and other small water bodies as well as over creeks and rivers. Active by day, it rests at night usually staying high on top of trees.
The Emerald Dragonfly grows to around 50mm and changes its eye colour from brown to emerald when matured.
The Garden Orb Weaver constructs a round orb web strategically positioned in a likely flight path for insects. When an insect flies into the web, the spider senses the vibration, rushes out from the web centre and rapidly wraps the victim in silk, rotating it with its shorter middle legs. When the prey is secure the orb-weaver administers a bite and sits back to allow the deadly venom to do its job. Once all movement has stopped, the spider takes the meal to the centre of the web and eats it or hangs it up for later.
The spider in this photo is busy wrapping up an unfortunate emerald dragonfly.
The Praying Mantis is a predatory insect which uses its powerful front legs to snatch and hold its prey. The name ‘praying’ originates from the pose they hold their front legs in – as if they were praying. They have large prominent eyes set well apart enabling them to accurately judge distance in order to effectively strike their prey. Through optical illusion it appears that the mantis is always looking at you, which may be a useful deterrent to some of the mantis's own predators. Praying mantises also have three simple eyes on the top of their head. These aren’t important in prey capture, but may allow the mantis to detect they time of day by the presence of various wavelengths of light.
Red Meat Ants form large subterranean nests normally completely bare of vegetation but covered with small pebbles that have been excavated from below the surface. If the nest is disturbed, large numbers of the ants will emerge aggressively to protect the nest. They create foraging trails which they travel along during the day to forage, unlike other species which may choose to forage at night. Being omnivores, they will eat both plants and animals. Workers of the colony are equipped with powerful jaws and communicate with each other using chemical cues. In keeping with their aggressive behaviour, border disputes may occur between rival colonies and are resolved by ritual fighting!
The Robber Fly is also known as an Assassin Fly reflecting its notoriously aggressive predatory habit - it waits in ambush to catch its prey in flight.
Prey mainly consists of other insects which are caught by the Robber Fly's strong claws, present on each of its legs. A powerful poison is injected once prey is caught and enzymes help to digest the meal, leaving behind a discarded exoskeleton.
The Wolf Spider earns its name by its method of hunting and capturing prey: it chases and runs it down just as a wild dog does. Most are wanderers although some build burrows, and they are found in a variety of habitats including coastal sand dunes.
There are many species of Wolf Spider, ranging in size, but all have eight eyes in three rows, with the four smaller eyes in front and the four largest arranged in a square. It has remarkable powers of observation, recognising landmarks by which it finds its way back home after foraging at night.