Backyard Buddies

Flyers

Bogong Moths

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Bogong Moths

As the weather warms up in south-east Australia, the well-known Bogong moths are getting ready to make a big journey. Bogong moths migrate several hundred kilometres each year. During spring, they fly from the lowland grassy areas up to the mountainous caves in the Snowy Mountains. As the temperature heats up, Bogong moths sleep in caves, each overlapping one another - just like tiles on a roof. In autumn Bogong moths fly back fr..

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Butterflies

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Photo credit: Jerry Oldenettel

Butterflies

Butterflies are a welcome addition to any garden and like many native buddies, need our help to make sure they remain regular guests. Butterflies are cold-blooded and need plenty of warm sunshine. You may see them in early spring with wings wide open to the warming sun. Or you may see them just touch the top of a bird bath or pond. Purple, red, orange, and yellow flowers attract butterflies. With a few simple changes, your backyard or par..

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Cicadas

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Photo credit: David Lochlin

Cicadas

It's not an Aussie summer without the deafening concert of thousands of cicadas. Around October, you can see the first empty shell of a newly hatched cicada on a tree trunk or your fence. They will soon fill the air with their song before they disappear again for winter. But where have they been during the colder months? At the end of summer, each female cuts small slits into plant stems and branches and places her eggs inside. From ..

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Common Brown Butterflies

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Photo credit: Sunphlo

Common Brown Butterflies

Fluttering through gardens, parks and bushland, this beautiful buddy deserves a better name than "Common Brown" The Female Common Brown is larger than the male with quite different markings and more yellow colouring. The male is dark orange all over with darker markings than the female. The Common Brown Butterfly is easy to spot as they search for mates from October through to December. They live in eastern Australia, with a subspeci..

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Dainty Swallowtail Butterflies

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Photo credit: Michael Jefferies

Dainty Swallowtail Butterflies

The Dainty Swallowtail Butterfly is also known as the Dingy Swallowtail or Small Citrus Butterfly - but it isn't dingy at all. You'll see these stunning butterflies in flight across eastern Australia right up until May Adult Dainty Swallowtails are black with grey, white, and smaller blue and red spots on their wings, and yellow markings along their bodies. The female's wingspan is up to 7.2 cm while the male is slightly smaller, with hi..

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Dragonflies

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Photo credit: R Nicolai

Dragonflies

Neither dragons nor flies, dragonflies are insects with more than 320 species known to live in Australia. Different species of dragonflies also have distinctive markings and colours, so with practice, you'll be able to recognise one type from another, just like birds. Different species emerge at different times of year, so keep a look out no matter what month it is. Watch out for dragonflies wherever there is water such as a pond, stream..

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Ichneumon Wasps

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Photo credit: John Tann

Ichneumon Wasps

As the days get warmer, colourful Ichneumon Wasps become a common sight in many Aussie backyards, hovering above your lawn on a warm day or trying to mate with your orchids. There are around 2000 species living all across Australia. These stingless insects are Mother Nature's pest control for your garden and provide fascinating entertainment for those prepared to sit still and watch the show. At up to 12 cm in length and with br..

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Lacewings

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Photo credit: Mathias Krumbholz

Lacewings

Some bugs are not only good bugs but great bugs that will eat other insects and keep your overall pest numbers down. Such a buddy is the Green Lacewing. This fascinating insect is as helpful as it is pretty. The larva of the Green Lacewing is a very efficient method of bug control for your garden, and they grow into delicate, winged beauties. Their vivid green colour and distinctive wings make them easy to spot. October is a great ti..

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Mantids

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Photo credit: David Cauchi

Mantids

You may see them in the grass, among leaves, on walls, near lights at night or in your veggie patch. Wherever there are insects to eat you might find a mantid. There are about 2,000 different species across the world, ranging from 10 to 120 millimetres in body length and their characteristic way of standing with forelegs held together as if they were praying. Only the males have wings fit to fly, helping them to move around looking for a ..

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Monarch Butterflies

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Photo credit: Arthur Chapman

Monarch Butterflies

During summer, for just six weeks, the Monarch, or Wanderer, Butterfly lives its short, busy life in many Australian backyards. They are not Australian natives, but arrived in Australia from North America as recently as 1871. Once its host plant, the Milkweed of the genus Asclepias, arrived as well, the butterflies began to flourish. Monarchs are very common and perhaps the most recognised butterfly, especially in urban areas. Al..

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Moth or Butterfly?

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Photo credit: Alves Gaspar

Moth or Butterfly?

Although they are very similar, there are a few ways you can tell a moth from a butterfly. The most obvious is when you are likely to see them. Butterflies are active during the day and most moths at night. Though there are a few moths, such as the Queensland Day Moth Alcides metaurus and the Jacob's Coat Moth Agarista agricola, which fly during the day. If you are able to take a closer look, the antennae of moths differ from that of..

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Mud Wasps

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Photo credit: Rosie Nicolai

Mud Wasps

If you hear a wasp buzzing loudly in your garden or find a wasp's nest under your eaves or attached to your house or shed, don't panic. They may be Mud dauber Wasps which look a bit scary with their bright yellow and dark black colouring, but are actually quite harmless and non-aggressive if you leave them alone. Like all wasps, if they feel threatened, they will give a painful sting, so best to observe them from a distance. During April..

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Native Bees

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Photo credit: Louise Docker

Native Bees

Commercial honey bees came to our shores from Europe in 1822, but there are over 1,500 species of native bees across the country. Australian bees can be as small as 2 mm in length. About 10% of Australia's native bees are 'social', meaning that they form hives, and have a queen, infertile female worker bees and male drones which fertilise the queen. They are completely stingless. Stingless bees are quite a sight when they'r..

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Painted Lady Butterflies

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Photo credit: David Cook

Painted Lady Butterflies

The Australian Painted Lady butterfly migrates from place to place and loves to visit gardens. In southern Australia, the best time to spot them is after a few warm, sunny days at the end of winter, and from spring to autumn. In the northern part of the Painted Lady butterfly's range, they live in the same spot year round. Whenever they rest or stop to feed, they spread their wings out low to keep predators away. The vibrant colours ..

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Paper Wasps

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Photo credit: David Finnegan /OEH

Paper Wasps

Native Paper Wasps are found all over Australia except in Tasmania and, although only aggressive when defending their nests, it is best to steer clear of them. But their behaviour can give you a clue to how they spend their lives. The female wasp is always busy. If she's tapping her way along a leaf, she'۪s probably looking for a caterpillar to feed her larvae. If she's fossicking on an old fence paling, chances are she's scraping up..

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Spiny Leaf Insect

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Photo credit: David Sindel

Spiny Leaf Insect

If you are in Queensland or northern New South Wales in January, you might be lucky enough to spot one of the most interesting insects that Australia is home to. Don't be alarmed by this weird looking buddy. The Spiny Leaf Insect is also known as Giant Prickly Stick Insect or Macleay's Spectre Stick Insect. The name may change, but their odd appearance stays the same. When laying her eggs, the female flicks the eggs from her abdomen ..

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Stick Insects

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Photo credit: CSIRO

Stick Insects

Somewhere amongst the leaves in your backyard is a camouflage master. Even though there are around 150 stick insect species in Australia, it's still difficult to spot one. Look closely at gum trees, rose bushes or fruit trees for these green or brown buddies. The stick insect is a Phasmid - insects that eat leaves and resemble leaves or sticks. It is a master of disguise and remains still during the day. Look for them at night by torchlig..

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