On Wednesday, I found a couple of rather strange minibeasts in Lockyer Creek, at a little rest area next to the Warrego Highway near Helidon.
The first was a creature with predatory-looking jaws and long tail projections that made me wonder if it was a type of stonefly (Plectoptera order) larva.
|Beetle larva, Helidon.|
Consulting my guidebooks later, however, revealed it to be the larva of a predatory diving beetle (Dytiscidae family).
This identification makes sense, as the creek is partially contaminated by highway and agriculture run-off, and stoneflies have a reputation for living in only the most pristine of freshwaters, whereas the beetles can handle pollution.
Another small predator I found gave me quite a surprise when I found it in my net, as at first glance it resembled a tick.
In the bucket, it showed itself to be quite an adept swimmer, though it’s roly-poly ‘dodgem car’ style of locomotion was certainly unique.
|Water mite, Helidon.|
I was not far off in my tick assessment, because it turns out this creature is indeed a type of arachnid, known as a water mite (Hydrachnidae family).
It has piercing mouthparts that inject digestive enzymes into its prey, which is then slurped-up more-so than eaten.
Other interesting finds of the day were water-skating flies (Ephydridae family), a waterboatman (Micronecta species) and two freshwater snail (Gastropoda order) species.