Features

The Red Stripe Cardinalfish

When diving in the Perth region of Western Australia, it is common to find a relatively lonely fish hovering in small confined spaces, watching larger animals swim past from its vantage. This fish has a deep marroon colour with glittering white-blue stripes. Measuring only a few inches and usually no bigger than a tennis ball the species scientifically named Apogon victoriae is a fantastic macro subject.  

Not too flighty and cautiously curious this fish never completely hides making it common for images to have only a portion of the fish peeping out of its home. The eyes of this species are comparatively large in terms of its body size. This allows it too hunt for the small invertebrates such as copepods and amphipods often found on reefs and rocks in which it makes its home.

The male Red Stripe Cardinalfish is the main care taker of this species offspring. Mouth brooders such as this fish incubate fertile eggs in their mouth until the young are a few days old. While I haven't had the opportunity to take a picture of this behaviour I am constantly on the look out for this species in the hopes that I can share it with you here.

Ant-throporphism

A golden queen searches for a place to start a brood

Ants! Apart from the poorly executed pun in the title this post is about that fun little effect known as anthropomorphism, and its application to ants. 

So what is anthropomorphism? It is the effect best described as the application of human like traits to non human things. Have you ever thought an animal was smiling at you, or an object looked sad, that in essence is the core of anthropomorphism. While its important to not the psychology and its wide ranging effects are much deeper and detialed than what I've touched upon, you have at least gotten the gist of it.  

So why ants? After all insects are hardly everyone's favourite things, but this differs for ants. Ants for a long time have captured the hearts of many Macro Photographers and nature enthusiasts alike. But why? My thoughts on this stem from the application of anthropomorphism. How many kids movies have there been about ants, there's even superheroes who take up the name. 

So why are we drawn to ants? Is it because like us they build vast cities and live complex lives within a larger community? Is it because they are likened to a hard working person at many companies, or their teamwork? What ever the reason it's not hard to see why we apply human traits to ants, with so many similarities between humans and ants we easily see them as microcosms of human society.

what are your thoughts on how we apply human traits to ants? 

Tell me in the questions below. 

The Sound of Spring

The last period of Western Australias weather has been interesting to say the least. However after having a couple warm days I thought I would go and hunt some macro subjects. Success! My first Cicada of the season and with its familiar chirps heralding the warm seasons (30-45°C) I can finally shed some of this winter gear! But in honour of this lucky find, I will write this blog's first post about this chirpy species.

Cicadoidea

Cicadas are a noisey insect, perhaps the noisiest, often being considered the sound of spring and summer. In Australia there are more than 200 species identified with some ranging in sizes of a couple centimetres to almost 17cm(6.5 inches!). While there are a large amount of species currently alive and kicking, many share some common traits. The humble cicada spends the largest part of its life in a wingless larval stage in which they burrow and live underground for upto 17 years only then to surface, moult and fly off to eat, mate and die in a relatively short time.

During thier time searching for a mate, members of this insect family commonly feed on plant sap, congregating on the leaves and trunks of trees, and using a strong needle like mouth-piece to pierce the tough outer layer of the plant. Due to the large amount of sap some species can consume there has been reports of plant growth being affected. Despite this mouth piece, cicada don't bite, however thier claws are prickly to the touch and stronger than expected.

The sound of cicadas are well known, thier familiar chirp being commonplace in the warmer months accross Australia, however it is interesting to note that some species have a call/chirp as loud as a chainsaw or thunderclap, measuring at 120 decibels. Yep you read that right an insect has the noise capacity to force you to wear ear-plugs because it is physically painful, while this isnt commonplace it really places into perspective how much we underestimate a family of insects we often over look.

Next time you go for a bush walk or hike, take a moment to stop and listen to the summer chirps of native cicadas, and marvel at the fact that those songs were years in the making.