Friday, January 8, 2016

Insect collaborators

The photographs in this post were snapped over the course of two visits to Newstead in as many days. (See also Blog Post December 31). For some time, I’ve been wanting to document the Eucalyptus trees that provide the raw materials for my current work. Their leaves come in infinitely varied forms, with invaluable creative input from unseen insects which subtly alter the contours in ways that add immeasurably to the unique aesthetic of each leaf. The identities of my insect collaborators, however, remained unknown to me – at least until now.

Upon arrival I couldn't resist harvesting more leaves for my growing collection, It was then that I made a thrilling discovery. The sapling from which I gathered the leaves was dotted with dazzling gold and blue bugs. Closer inspection also revealed what I recognized as a species of shield bug, also - a tad less poetically - referred to as stink bugs.

Some basic research conducted as soon as we got home to Ballarat revealed that the entire insect population of the sapling are Amorbus alternatus, AKA Eucalyptus tip bugs or Gumtree bugs, which are usually found in the tropical climate of Queensland. The brightly coloured bugs are nymphs; the mature insect is brown and orange.

The photographs third, fourth, fifth and sixth from the top were taken by Shane Jones.

For more about the Eucalyptus tip bug, go HERE.