I'M A CELEBRITY, GET ME OUT OF HERE!
Taking a change from the usual filming projects, August had all
hands at the AIF busy in preparation for the UK Survivor-style series
"I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here". Filmed on location in the
Tully region, eight British celebrities spent two weeks in an isolated
camp under the rainforest canopy. Contestants had to endure various
challenges to earn their daily meals including a bug and insect
shower for British socialite Tara Palmer Tomkinson along with a
bug-tucker meal for psychic Uri Geller. Although Uri is a devote
vegan, he quickly made his way through wijitti grubs; stick insects
and other insect delicacies, all in the name of charity. With all
production facilities on site daily filming went to air in Britain
that same night. Around 9.4 million people tuned in for the final
BUGATHON 2002 COMPETITION RESULTS
The "Bugathon 2002" competition closed on the 20th July. Every
child entering had to send a photo of an insect they found. They
also had to include either a short poem or essay detailing their
insect. We received a good number of entries and have selected the
following 3 winners who won their choice of insect kits.
Awarded to David Miller of Landsborough in Queensland. David aged
13, presented a very informative brief on the Leafwing butterfly
found in his area. He supplied three images as well as the following
information on his butterfly.
THE LEAFWING BUTTERFLY
-Doleschallia bisaltide australis
by David Miller
The reason why the Leafwing butterfly interests me is because it
has beautiful orange, brown and black wings with three or four white
spots on the tip of the two upper wings and has two very small tails
on the two bottom wings. All of this helps to camouflage it in the
leaf litter on the ground because when this magnificent butterfly
closes its wings it looks just like a dead leaf sitting upwards
and out of the sight of prying eyes.
When you are observing these butterflies you will notice that they
can move extremely fast and are impossible to follow in the shadows
of the rainforest or they can sit perfectly still and be camouflaged
in the trees, making them impossible to see.
The larvae are just as spectacular as the butterflies, as they
have beautiful iridescent - blue spots along their spiky black bodies.
The pupae hang upside down by their tails. They are caramel in
colour and very geometrically shaped, camouflaging them effectively
amongst the undergrowth.
David received three insect kits for his winning entry.
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Awarded to Sam Ballantyne from Millicent in South Australia. One
of our youngest entrants at age 7, Sam submitted a poem about a
carnivorous cricket he found interesting.
By Sam Ballantyne
RESTING ON WOOD
KEEPING OUT OF DANGER
Sam received two insect kits for his entry.
Awarded to Brittany Standen from Monash in the ACT. Brittany aged
14, also chose a butterfly for her topic, submitting a butterfly
story of interest.
By Brittany Standen
"CRACK" the chrysalis that had been hanging from a branch for many
weeks had finally cracked open and emerging from it a beautiful
butterfly. This is not just any butterfly, this is one of the last
of its kind and its survival depends on the survival of its species.
After getting used to her new wings, she goes in search of the
delicious golden nectar from which she feeds. Just like the butterfly's
species, the flower she eats off, is rare as well and takes the
first few hours of her life to find.
Being a caterpillar was so much easier; your food was always available,
right under you nose.
After eating all the nectar, butterfly looks for a place to live.
She finds it under the leaves, in a gum tree. She spends the next
two days recovering from only just emerging from here safe hide-away.
Life for butterfly will not be easy, she will have to face winter
soon and without a mate her kind will surely die. Butterfly recovers
and soon gets into the routine of pollinating nearby flowers. Her
task is easily done as most of the surrounding flowers are dying,
preparing for the winter ahead.
After a long days work, butterfly goes out and looks for a mate.
She flies to the top of her tree, spreads her purple and yellow
wings and flaps them together very fast, which sounds like humming.
Soon after, a yellow striped male flies to her tree and starts to
dance around her. She immediately surrenders and the male 'mounts'
The first winter snows have started to fall. The male soon after
mating flies away, never to see her again.
The next few weeks are hard for butterfly. The winter is an unusually
heavy one and food is scarce. Butterfly's once beautiful and full
green tee is now a dead white twig. She must now go out in search
of a new home. She finds it several kilometres away. Once she gets
to her new tree, she settles. The trip has been a hard one on her.
As she lays down, her breath labouring, her body starts to heave
and push. The eggs she has been carrying with her for weeks are
finally being born. With her last breath, butterfly delivers the
last egg. She will never see her babies' hatch and never see them
But that's what life's like for a butterfly!
Brittany received one insect kit for her entry.
HAIRY BEETLES ON HARRY'S PRACTICE
A feature on Harry's Practice (Channel 7) during the month of June
was the AIF Hairy Beetle Kits. Filming for this show was done over
a few months to enable the complete life history from egg, larva,
pupa and fresh adult to be covered.
DAINTREE INSECT DISPLAY
In September a new insect diorama display was installed at the
Daintree River Cruise Centre, north of Cairns. Featuring insects
of the local Daintree region, the display will be used to educate
day visitors to the centre. Situated on the Daintree River the lush
rainforest surroundings make for the ideal opportunity for visitors
to see many of the insects displayed in the wild.
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IN THE LAB
Grubs, grubs and more grubs fill the shelves as usual during the
winter period. Of course most of these are beetles grubs. The very
first of these beetle grubs have started pupating while the last
of the Coscinocera hercules larva finish spinning their cocoons.
A breeding programme started over three years ago came to fruition
this winter. While Dilocrosis atripennis has been in breeding for
many years, breeding was increased over the last three years to
enable this beetle to be released as an additional insect pet. After
much debate and due to it's colouring the name 'Caramel Beetle'
was adopted. With all other beetle kits being adults during summer
the Caramel beetle is available as an adult during winter.
In preparation for the Survivor show, insect numbers in the lab
grew by 30,000. This included grasshoppers, grubs, roaches, beetle
pupae, stick insects and beetles. Such numbers were required to
accommodate the many rehearsals then the actual filming for the
show involving the chosen celebrity.
AROUND THE SCHOOLS
The mobile education unit visited many schools in the northern
region including Kairi State School situated on the Atherton Tablelands.
After an enjoyable visit to their school students wrote the following:
Thank you for telling us information about insects. We really liked
all of the insects you brought but we loved the cockroach and the
Preying Mantid the most.
From Bjorn, Katelyn and Natalee
Class 3 & 4
Kairi State School
20th May 2002
THE BUG FILES:
Rainbow Stag Beetle - Phalacrognathus muelleri
Phalacrognathus muelleri is a well-known but poorly documented
species. It is also known as the Golden, Rainbow, Magnificent, Mueller's
and King Stag beetle. It is the Largest Australian member of the
The Rainbow Stag beetle is confined to the rainforests and adjacent
wet sclerophyll forests of coastal north-eastern Queensland between
Helenvale near Cooktown and the southern end of the Paluma Range.
This most spectacular beetle breeds in rotting wood in both fallen
and standing, living or dead trees. The larvae feed on the decaying
wood of various species of trees. This decaying matter is usually
moderately moist although they can at times be found in relatively
dry timber. Adults feed on the same material as the larvae and supplement
their diet with plant sap, fruits and nectar from flowers.
Up to 50 eggs are laid by each female. Eggs are deposited singly,
but females have been observed to lay up to 30 eggs in a close group.
Eggs take from 10 to 14 days to hatch, in which time each egg expands
to become almost double it's original size. The larva is visible
within the egg just before emerging. Oviposition occurs throughout
the year. Males have been recorded in the company of ovipositing
The larva constructs a pupal cell, which may take up to a week to
complete. At this stage the larva moults and a pupa is formed. The
pupa will change position in the cell many times during its development.
The pale pupa begins to attain a metallic colour, almost opal like.
The soft beetle then emerges with soft white wings that harden and
develop their brilliant rainbow colours over a period of one week.
The adult may remain with the pupal cell for up to eight months
Males can vary in length from 24mm to 70 mm. Females are generally
much smaller measuring from 23 mm to 46 mm. Irrespective of individual
beetle size, mandibles can vary considerably between males.
Adults break out of their pupal cells using their mandibles and
jaws. Males with well-developed mandibles use the base of these
for chewing while using their tarsi for raking out any excavated
material. Upon emerging from the pupal cell an adult will disperse
in search of food, mates and an oviposition site. Adults are known
to live for up to 18 months in captivity.
Males use their mandibles as levers when in conflict with one another.
Two protagonists will approach each other with the mandible lowered.
Each beetle tries to pass beneath its opponent's body or legs, at
which point the mandibles are raised in an attempt to dislodge the
rival. It is not unusual for the combatants to be thrown into the
air or rolled over on their back.
- larva, a young insect which leaves the egg in an early
stage of development and differs fundamentally in form from the
- mandibles, the first pair of jaws of an insect
- oviposition, the act of depositing an egg
- pupa, the resting inactive stage of an insect, the intermediate
stage between the larva and adult
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Sue Hasenpusch Editor
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