FAUNA OF A KELSO COUNTRY ESTATE ACREAGE:
Above photos I took of the computer screen from the BOM website show the row of storms, "tail" (rain band) associated with Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie - these row of storms were attached to Cyclone Debbie (29 March, 2017) as she crossed the coast and moved inland further down the coast which helps to explain the rapid further expansion of the Tawny Coster butterfly both inland - (Longreach) and down the coast. (I should have taken photos of the screen from 512 km!.) I observed the first wave of Tawny Coster butterflies prior to these row of storms, 29th March, 2017 in which we only received 15 mm rain.
Monday, 27 November, 2017:
Have been observing the Tawny Coster since their arrival in Townsville via Kelso Country Estate in their hundreds starting 29 March, 2017 (not 30 March), arriving prior to the storms associated with the tail/rain band from Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie on 29th. The butterflies arrived here from a westerly/north-westerly direction, and were heading in an easterly to south-easterly direction. They have been breeding here on Passiflora foetida since their arrival, and adult females I observed ovipositing eggs in May were pristine specimens obviously offspring of the original arrivals. I have been observing the Tawny Coster in the wild (my yard), and raising and breeding them in captivity with great success.
Being a small butterfly, much smaller than the Monarch it would probably be impossible to tag them in the traditional way. The Monarch butterfly has a 93-94mm wingspan, and their tags are 9mm in diameter, the Tawny Coster is quite smaller, so I have invented my own form of tagging. While my method of tagging maybe crude, it has worked for me, and would have a far better outcome than not tagging these guys at all. Please keep an eye out for these guys, they have been marked mainly on the underside of the hindwing with a pearlescent blue acrylic ink with their eclosion date and any other relevant info that I can undersand. I have also had to release 7 x gravid females since 10 November as I only have two enclosures and not enough larval food plant material to support the resulting offspring.
Another 11 x Tawny Coster pupae, one eclosion, with another eclosion to follow tomorrow, and another 3 days approx. later. Tawny Coster eggs have hatched either today or yesterday afternoon. 2 x more Tawny Coster larvae from another batch will be pupating in the following days.
Another 3 Tawny Coster pupae from the batch (from egg) I raised myself in captivity....with more to follow...2 x more getting closer to pre-pupal stage, another Tawny Coster 6th instar 35mm long has moved off the food plant onto a Bursaria - this caterpillar being from another batch on another vine from another part of our yard found at 2nd instar ( also in captivity-kept 3).....also have several more 2nd and 3rd instars from another batch.
********Friday, 18 August, 2017 - have found another Tawny Coster pupa at 9:40am......this time from a batch I've raised myself.....
Sunday, 30 July, 2017: Have finally found a Tawny Coster pupa, photos coming soon......as soon as I can get some decent photos....LOL.... Have been seeing lots of Tawny Coster butterflies - it's as if they have been here for years!!!. and presently are the most commonest butterfly in the area...well at least in our neighborhood.
Monday, 24 July, 2017:
Above: Square-tailed Kite - Lophoictinia isura. Photo Taken: 24/07/2017 at 11:07:18am. Above-bottom: Two Square-tailed Kites. Photo taken: 24/07/2017 at 11:09:54pm.
Monday, July 10, 2017:
The Tawny Coster has most certainly proven that they have moved into Kelso Country Estate, adding to our already diverse Lepidopteran fauna. All Tawny Costers I have observed since their arrival on 30 March to 5 April have been pristine specimens - including the females I witnessed ovipositing eggs 13 and 16 May. Although I haven't found a pupa, (try finding a tiny pupa on a heavily planted 4,400sq.m!!.)
I know with certainty that all Tawny Coster adults I have observed since their arrival have bred here locally. Have been seeing between 1 and 3 Tawny Coster adults on a daily basis, during short excursions down the back yard; excluding totally overcast and drizzly days. Today I saw four with one female again depositing eggs on P. foetida, although sparingly on numerous leaves. The 80+ Tawny Coster larvae on the back fence boundary have been predated by Green Tree ants following drizzling rain - which only gave us 2.5mls. The larvae had only just moulted into their third instar. The 53 eggs deposited on the upper surface of the leaf on the vine draped over the Murraya were Glasswings. Many were victims of predation by ants, the same small ant species witnessed eating and taking Tawny Coster eggs. I had also tagged on a leaf several leaves up from these guys with 5 tiny 1st instar larvae found elsewhere in the yard, obviously they joined in with these larvae. There are not too many left of either today.( 4 or 5 total, will have to check photos.) One had moulted into their 3rd instar today.
Monday, 26 June, 2017: New photos on Life Cycle - Lepidoptera page - Pupation Sequence of Cairns Birdwing larva....Also scroll below in LEPIDOPTERA for more photos of our local butterflies and moths.
The TAWNY COSTER (Acraea terpsicore) has arrived in Kelso Country Estate March 30 to 4/5 April in large numbers!!!!!. See Recent Bird Sightings Page for more details. See photos below in LEPIDOPTERA - Butterflies.
All further information and photos of the Tawny Coster can now be found on TAWNY COSTER & GLASSWING page, (have a lot to catch up to).
NOTES: 27/05/2017: In my opinion based on my own personal observations of the Tawny Coster....they are on a mission to "Invade by stealth".....and are following the mountain ranges either over or close to!!!. Although I've always felt that Cyclone Debbie played a major role in their recent rapid movements through Queensland, the spread and abundance of the introduced weed Passiflora foetida and 'known' larval host preference for the widespread herb Hybanthus enneaspermus (Spade Flower in QLD) are aiding in their rapid colonization, particularly P. foetida.
The invasive weed Passiflora foetida (Stinking Passionflower, Wild Passionfruit) appear to be more prevalent than the Hybanthus enneaspermus (Spade Flower) at least in my area.; can't find any H. enneaspermus on my property at the moment.... P. foetida and other members of the PASSIFLORACEAE family also appears to have been more instrumental in the Tawny Coster's spread from India and Sri Lanka through SE Asia including Singapore. Furthermore in my opinion.... I feel that the Tawny Costers in their recent enmass migration, were involved on a reconnaissance mission....wherever they find their host plants, they will stay in that area for awhile, mate, and females will lay as many eggs as possible and then move onto another area.
In my opinion: Based on my own observations of the Tawny Coster: I believe the best places in the Townsville District to look for the Tawny Coster maybe areas including those surrounding: Mt.Spec/Paluma, Mt Cataract, Alice River, Rangewood, etc; Toomula, Toonpan, Majors Creek, Alligator Creek, Mt Surround, Mt Elliot, Cape Bowling Green...... and further down the coast.... Cape Upstart. Possibly Mt Louisa and Rollingstone. Definitely the rural-residential Kelso Country Estate, possibly Kelso.
Thursday, 25 May, 2017:
More Tawny Coster butterflies today, mostly males. (19 in total) from 12:30pm. Checked photos, 7 females and two ??? photos too blurry and burnt out to tell. Were 26 eggs found 28/5/17? Tawny Coster.?
Went out into the back yard around 12:25pm, at 12:30pm? maybe later saw one male Tawny Coster heading in a northerly direction. From 12:47pm to 1:01:11pm another 14. Memory Card full so had to race inside to upload photos and delete. Went back outside, quickly checked the front yard, went down the back yard and saw another 3 at 2:09pm, and 1 more at 2:26:45pm then came back inside. Several headed in the same easterly to south-easterly direction.
NEWSFLASH: 1:24pm - 13/05/2017 - Tawny Coster are breeding and have oviposited eggs on Passiflora foetida (Wild Passionfruit/vine; Stinking Passionflower) at Kelso Country Estate and also found 37+ hatchlings on the same plant. More details and photos coming soon. Our Glasswings are also ovipositing eggs so will be interesting to see the outcome. Photos of Tawny Coster ovipositing eggs, eggs and hatchlings below under Tawny Coster in Butterflies. More to come.
Wednesday 17 May, 2017:
Found another batch of 30 eggs on 15/05/17 on another P. foetida vine draped over a Murraya, close to the other vine. Witnessed a recently mated female Tawny Coster laying eggs on this same vine on the 16/5/17 - this time 72 eggs. Yesterday, 17/5/17 found another batch of 95 eggs on P. foetida vine near a Ficus benjamina down the back on the NE to Easterly boundary.
MY ACREAGE WILDLIFE:
Local Townsville acreage Butterflies & Moths:
Caper Gull - Cepora perimale:
Scarlet Jezebel - Delias argenthona:
Yellow Albatross- Appias paulina:
Caper White- Belenois java:
NYMPHALIDAE (Nymphs, Browns, Danaids):
Dusky Knight - Ypthima arctous:
Evening Brown - Melanitis leda:
Orange Bush-brown- Mycalesis terminus:
Orange Bush-brown butterfly - Mycalesis terminus. Taken: 16/9/16.
Orange Bush-brown Butterfly - Mycalesis terminus. Taken: 16/9/16 at 12:45:30pm.
Orange Bush-brown Butterfly - Mycalesis terminus. Taken 16/9/16 at 12:49:35pm.
Subfamilies: CHARAXINAE, APATURINAE:
Tailed Emperor - Polyura sempronius:
Red Lacewing - Cethosia cydippe:
Cruiser- Vindula arsine:
Bordered Rustic - Cupha prosope:
Photos above of the Bordered Rustic AKA Australian Rustic - Cupha prosope taken: 11/2/2016. Between 3:17pm and 3:18pm.
Subfamilies: HELICONIINAE & NYMPHALINAE:
Australian Glasswing - Acraea andromacha:
Photo Taken: 15/5/2017 at 12:25:18pm. Has been searching Passiflora vines for a place to lay her eggs.
Tawny Coster - Acraea terpsicore:
Tawny Coster - Acraea terpsicore ovipositing eggs on Passiflora foetida at Kelso Country Estate, Townsville. Photo taken Saturday, May 13, 2017. The first photo taken on this discovery I think was at 12:46:29pm.
Note the Sphragis on her abdomen, AKA copulatory plug which is the Lepidopteran version of the 'chastity belt,' to prevent her from breeding with other males.
This female oviposited 83 eggs on this one leaf, yes I counted them!!. The Tawny Coster is only reported to lay up to 60 eggs at one time. The third leaf up on the same plant are 37 tiny hatchlings with eggshell remnants, yesterday (13/5/17) I was uncertain as to whether they were Glasswing hatchlings or Tawny Coster, but now know that they are positively Tawny Coster hatchlings.
I discovered Glasswings depositing eggs on Passiflora foetida from 9 May, 2017, although they are usually around. More photos coming soon. I have been watching these vines since the Tawny Costers passed through in their 100's/1000's, and have only seen several individuals since and one pair indulging in courtship, probably around 6/5/2017. Have been wondering whether our property being fairly heavily planted would be a suitable habitat for the Tawny Coster as they prefer more of an open habitat, but kind of hoping that the wild Passionfruit vines would be the 'clincher', and it appears they were. I cannot find any Hybanthus ennaespermus (Spade Flower) around at the moment, there was a few last month but probably have been taken over by the Ruellia tuberosa. Must purchase more Australian native Passionfruit vines for our Glasswings as I only have one at the moment, and that's an Adenia heterophylla, which I purchased mainly for the Red Lacewings and Cruisers....needless to say I will propagating the hell out of this vine!!!.
Tawny Coster eggs on Passiflora foetida-83of them at Kelso Country Estate, Townsville.
Tawny Coster hatchlings - there are 37, eggshell remnants cant be seen here due to poorer quality of image.
Tawny Coster eggshell remnants with one 1st Instar Caterpillar. Taken: 14/5/17 at 11:41:30 am. Crop from larger image. Demonstrates the ribbed eggs more here.
Photo taken: 31 March, 2017 at 12:41:48pm. This is the very first photo I managed to capture of the TAWNY COSTER - Acraea terpsicore, out trying to watch out for and photograph Pacific Swifts (Fork-tailed Swifts) since Cyclone Debbie and noticed large numbers of these Tawny Costers flying through starting 30 March, which was probably around the same time they were seen in Cairns in large numbers. The largest concentration was from the 31 March, 1st April 2017 through to 3 April, with far lesser numbers on the 4/5 April. These photos are very tiny crops from much larger images and were taken from some distance using only a 200mm lense.
Taken: 31 March, 2017 at 1:15:30pm.
TAWNY COSTER at Kelso Country Estate, Townsville QLD - flying over our big shed down the back heading in a roughly Easterly direction.
Taken: 31 March, 2017 at 1:18:31pm.
TAWNY COSTER at Kelso Country Estate, Townsville, QLD in among grass and weeds.
Taken: 31 March, 2017 at 4:57pm.
TAWNY COSTER - Acraea terpsicore at Kelso Country Estate, Townsville, QLD. These were still flying at 6:00/6:10pm when I went inside.
Taken: 3 April, 2017 at 2:44:34pm.
TAWNY COSTER - Acraea terpsicore - feeding on Golden Duranta flowers. Very lucky to capture this guy in one spot.
TAWNY COSTER - Acraea terpsicore at Kelso Country Estate, Townsville, QLD.
TAWNY COSTER - Acraea terpsicore at Kelso Country Estate, Townsville, QLD.
Varied eggfly - Hypolimnas bolina:
Above: Varied Eggflies mating. Taken: 25/1/2016 at 7:29:40am.
Danaid Eggfly - Hypolimnas misippus:
Blue-banded Eggfly - Hypolimnas alimena:
Leafwing - Doleschallia bisaltide:
Lurcher- Yoma Sabina:
Above: Yoma Sabina - Australian Lurcher butterfly. Taken: 23/1/2016 at 4:59:18pm.
Above: Yoma Sabina - Australian Lurcher butterfly. Taken: 23/1/2016 at 4:55:48pm.
Above: Mating Australian Lurcher butterflies - Yoma Sabina parva - Taken: 5/3/2016 at 1:39:37pm.
Above: Yoma Sabina - Australian Lurcher butterfly - On Ruellia tuberosa hovering over surface water following rain. Taken: 6/3/2016 at 9:44:52am.
Chocolate Argus (Brown Soldier) - Junonia hedonia:
Meadow Argus - Junonia villida:
Blue Argus - Junonia orithya:
Australian Painted Lady - Vanessa kershawi:
Common Crow - Euploea core:
Purple Crow - Euploea tulliolus:
Lesser Wanderer - Danaus chrysippus:
Swamp Tiger - Danaus affinis:
Above: Swamp Tiger, AKA Black & White Tiger, Brown Tiger. Taken: 23/9/16 at 2:30:48pm.
Monarch - Danaus plexippus:
Blue Tiger - Tirumala hamata:
Above: Female Blue Tiger butterfly - Tirumala hamata. Taken: 8/2/2016 at 12:36:12pm.
Black-spotted Flash, Common Tit - Hypolycaena phorbas:
Above: Hypolycaena phorbas - Black-spotted Flash pupa with Oecophylla smaragdina - Green Tree Ant. Larval and pupal attendant ants. The ants were actively protecting the pupa. Would hate to see what happens to an emerging butterfly though!!!..More photos of pupa on Life Cycle - Lepidoptera page.
ARCTIIDAE, SUBFAMILY: ARCTIINAE: - Tiger moths:
Amerila rubripes: Walker's Frother: Syn: Rhodogastria rubripes - Larvae feed on rubber vine - Cryptostegia grandiflora.
Utetheisa lotrix - Grass Moth, Crotolaria Moth:
My favourite moths are the hawk moths, always had a soft spot for them ever since I was a child.
SPHINGIDAE (Hawk Moths):
Macroglossum sp below: Macroglossum hirundo???:
Macroglossum sp? below - I just call these moths - the orange guys. They are super fast, even faster than the M. micacea, which seems to be much faster than the Cephonodes spp. and they are difficult to capture. There is not a lot of these 'orange' guys about. Really do not have much of an idea what species they are. IDing any of these guys in flight or even being able to capture them in a photo is very challenging, particularly in low light conditions. The majority of ID photos on the internet are of dead specimens, which always lose colour, and decent descriptions are few and far between.