Monday, January 01, 2007

Uncertain future...

I'm not sure what will happen to my blogging over the next few months.

On the 4th of January, I'll be leaving Sydney to work as a research assistant near Fogg Dam, south-east of Darwin. To me this is super-exciting, I'll be able to see so many great things as well as begin to immerse myself in the world of research.

I don't know what to expect in terms of computer and internet access when I'm there, though I'm sure I'll be taking heaps of blog-worthy photos and discovering new things. I'm considering starting a separate blog in order to share these things as well as record what I'm doing and how I'm going up there for whoever would be interested in that (friends and family mainly I suppose). Alternatively, I might just stick the odd piece up here and not bother with a new blog. Or I might not even be able or inclined to blog while I'm away, in that case you'll hear from me when I get back.

So... stay tuned. Not too sure what's going to happen, but if I do start something separate I shall announce it here.

'Tis the season for giving and receivin'

I was trying to chase down some specific info on this subject to accompany these shots that I took a few days ago, but haven't managed to find what I was after. So I'll post them with just a short explanation.

What you're seeing are the larvae - caterpillars - of the Imperial Blue butterfly, Jalmenus evagoras being fussed over by ants. The ants get a heap of nutritious substances which are exuded especially for them by the caterpillars (and, from memory, some drug-like substances that modify their behaviour), and in return these ants will quickly dispatch of anything that comes near their defenseless charges or even lands nearby on the plant (Acacia decurrens, the Sydney Green Wattle in this case, though A. longifolia is another favourite).

The attention given by the ants seems to reach a frenzied peak leading up to pupation, and the ants even protect pupae quite vigorously.