In the Australian summer the Monkey Rope vine (Parsonsia straminea) growing over the old chicken house is flowering and it is alive with invertebrates coming to sip nectar from the tiny, 6mm flowers.
Most morning I would spend an hour or two at the vine observing and photographing the many creatures and their activities. There are great photographic opportunities and so very much to learn from the observations and then first-time sighting have to be identified.
This summer many species of little butterflies of the Family Lycaenidae were seen daily at the Money Rope vine and so were lots of Giant Mosquitoes ( Toxorhynchites speciosus) which are a beneficial insect. Several species of native bees, flies and wasps were regular visitors, like the Blue-banded Bees, Homalictus, Sawfly, Yellow Anntenae Wasp and the Yellow and Blue Flower Wasps. This many visitors to the flowers of course attracted predators like Assassin bugs and Spiders! Most spiders were very small and hard to see, like the crab spiders and flower spiders.
One morning I was observing a tiny crab spider when a large Blue Hairy Flower Wasp (Family Scoliidae) landed on the flower next to the crab spider and I held my breath thinking the spider would leap and grab it as they can take prey much larger than themselves. Not this time though and I was able to capture this picture of the Crab Spider and Blue Hairy Flower Wasp next to each other on the flowers of the Monkey Rope vine.
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Clare Disano • Editor