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Stinging Scorpions and Colossal Cockroaches, and Peculiar Plants


Monica Lilley

Today started with a stroll down to the river with Zoey, an PHD student who is studying true bugs. It had rained lots overnight, so the river was flowing and we were checking out what water bugs we could find. We came across some mole crickets. Like their name suggests, they like to dig and burrow like a mole, so if you cup it in your hand it uses its front diggers to burrow its way out of your hand. It feels very strange, kind of a tickling sensation.

Next up, myself and one of the other teachers decided to accompany Zoey back to the swap that we were at yesterday. The landscape is incredibly different at that end of the park, so it’s a good spot to be. She was searching for more of the carnivorous plant I mentioned yesterday called Drosera sonata. Zoey is studying the bugs that co-exist with the plant by living on its leaves and eating the bugs that the carnivorous plants also prays on. It’s a very interesting adaptation that the bug has undertaken! She believes that the bug may be one that is unnamed and undescribed. This means after her study she will get to decide on the common name and description of the bug.

We had not long been wandering around looking for the Drosera sonata, when we came across the most fascinating site. There was a large scorpion who was in the middle of attacking a giant burrowing cockroach for lunch. After watching in amazement for a moment, we decided we should catch the pair as the entomologists would absolutely love both the finds. The scorpion ran back into its burrow the first attempt, so with a lot of patience and stillness we were able to capture both! I have some fantastic videos to show you of our capture. I also managed to catch a very interesting looking butterfly I later found out was a Clearwing Swallowtail butterfly. We spent the rest of morning wandering around, collecting lots of Drosera sonata (I had to sacrifice my lunchbox for them as the collection box was occupied by a scorpion!) We then had to head just before 3:00pm as the weather was beginning to worsen.

When we got back, I went for a big walk down at the creek looking for crocs, but still no luck! The last activity for the day included sorting through piles and piles of collected leaf litter for small spiders for Robert. We found lots of little spiders, this turned out to be 20 different species. One of them suspected to be very rare, with no photos having been taken before (remember that this can’t be confirmed until DNA testing is completed).

It has since been raining very heavy all afternoon and evening with tomorrow looking very wet as well. I’m very thankful for my sturdy tent keeping me dry.

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