Sunday, September 03, 2006

Orange things

Red and orange Velvet MiteA walk in the bush last night turned up quite a few interesting things and a few good photos too.

On the left is a velvet mite, a teensy little leaf-litter predator. They've got a great soft felty appearance. Generally I see them in scarlet but this one as you can see is mottled orange and red.

The next little critter I happened upon is a type of beetle that I haven't run into before. As you can see it has a bold orange and black colouration, but whats more it lives on and in a bright orange bracket fungus! This raises the question of whether the colouration in this case is aposematic (warning colouration) or camoflague! Or, I wonder, is the beetle sequestering both the pigment and the toxins from its fungus food?Pleasing Fungus Beetles (Family Erotylidae)

It was surprisingly easy to get a family ID. They're family Erotylidae, having the common name of 'Pleasing Fungus Beetles". Pleasing indeed.Pleasing Fungus Beetles (Family Erotylidae)

As you can see from the photos, they appear to be quite, erm, social. You can also see the holes in which I presume they live. Oh, and you can also make out their bright orange frass.

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