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DISPLAYING POSTS TAGGED: eucalyptus tortoise beetle (1)

Nature walk at Eltham High

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by Kate C
Publish date
6 December 2010
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Entomologist Ken Walker took 75 students in Year 7 at Eltham High School for a nature walk around their school grounds last week. Ken also gave a talk about biodiversity, but he believes that biodiversity is best understood through fieldwork.

The students discovered this batch of beautifully architectural eggs:

eggs on eucalyptus leaves Eggs laid on young eucalyptus leaves.
Image: Ken Walker
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Detail of insect eggs Detail of insect eggs.
Image: Ken Walker
Source: Museum Victoria
 

They were laid by a Eucalyptus Tortoise Beetle (Paropsis atomaria) which belongs to the family Chrysomelidae, or leaf beetles. This is a very large and common family of beetles that feed on leaves. Some species of chrysomelids are introduced pests, such as the Elm Leaf Beetle that threatens many of Melbourne's historic elms, but the Eucalyptus Tortoise Beetle is native to Australia. These eggs will hatch into voracious leaf-munching larvae.

Paropsis atomaria laying eggs Paropsis atomaria laying eggs.
Image: Peter Kelly
Source: PaDIL, Museum Victoria
 

beetle grubs feeding Young larvae of the Eucalyptus Tortoise Beetle feeding on eucalyptus leaf.
Image: Peter Kelly
Source: PaDIL, Museum Victoria
 

Next year Ken will help the students do a full survey of the ants found at Eltham High to teach them more about classification and the biodiversity of their own school.

Links:

Elm Leaf Beetle featured in Question of the Week

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