Ground beetle find

We found a really cool ground beetle in Hagley Park yesterday. None of these photos do it justice. It’s even cooler in real life.

zeplora megadromus IMG_3327

We think the species is Megadromus antarcticus.

zeplora megadromus IMG_3349

There is a guide to New Zealand ground beetles here. The Fauna of New Zealand Series No. 60 also covers this species.

NatureWatchNZ shows a fairly small number and area of observations of this particular species.

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Cicadas in Hagley Park

The cicadas are hatching in large numbers just now. They are very loud when you go through Hagley Park, even in a car.

One of the cicada species in Christchurch
One of the cicada species in Christchurch

We have made several visits to see them. The nymph stage crawls out of holes in the ground, after feeding on the tree roots for several years.

One of the holes the cicada nymphs climb out of
One of the holes the cicada nymphs climb out of

 

Then they climb trees, or whatever else they can find, such as posts, blades of grass,  dandelion leaves, even just the kerb.

Cicadas have used this concrete post to emerge
Cicadas have used this concrete post to emerge

The adults split the nymph exoskeleton and emerge with their wings all crumpled up.

Cicada, still with crumpled wings
Cicada, still with crumpled wings

After a little while the wings inflate and harden.

Cicada with wings smoothed out, though not yet 'hardened'
Cicada with wings smoothed out, though not yet ‘hardened’

Finally, they fly off.

There are so many at the moment that you have to be careful where you step!

Exoskeletons under one of the trees
Exoskeletons under one of the trees

We brought a couple of nymphs home to watch them emerge. They seem to like it best when they had a vertical stick to cling to while they moult. Once they started, it took less than half an hour for them to emerge from their exoskeleton, but then several hours for them to ‘harden’ up.

Click below to see our cicada stop motion.

2-spotted lady beetles

zeplora ladybeetle IMG_5350

Lady beetle larvae
Lady beetle larvae

Lady beetle larvae are very interesting.

After a few weeks of feeding on aphids, mealy bugs etc. they pupate.

Lady beetle pupa on left, larvae on right
Lady beetle pupa on left, larvae on right
Pupa from which a lady beetle has emerged
Pupa from which a lady beetle has emerged

After about a week they emerge as pale white or cream coloured lady beetles.

Newly emerged lady beetle
Newly emerged lady beetle (with a camouflaged aphid behind it)

Over a period of a few hours they get their colour and their spots.

zeplora ladybeetle IMG_5349After eating lots more aphids, you might get some eggs.

Eggs of the 2-spotted lady beetle
Eggs of the 2-spotted lady beetle

Here are some instructions, in case you would like to have a go at raising some yourself.