Australian Insect Farm
Established 1986
Suppliers & Breeders of Insects
Delivering World-Wide

follow us day to day
Latest Additions
see what we see
Insect Pets
pets available
Insect Supplies
containers & supplies
what's walking out the door
Shop Here
order form
School Study Boxes
preserved insects for classroom use
insect display featuring insect orders, etc.
Insect Art
insects used in an artistic arrangement
Insect Wranglers
supply of/& management on location
Classroom Insects
information for teachers
Environmental & Agricultural
insect identification & assessments
manuals, stories, yarns
About Us
The AIF Story
Contact Us
for all your insect enquiries




Vol 1. No. 4 August 2001
Bringing you all the news from the Australian Insect Farm

This Issue:
*** Welcome
*** Cassowary Sightings
*** Around the Schools
*** Book Review
*** In the Lab
*** Research News
*** The Bug Files - Birdwings in the Garden
*** Food Plants of a Selection of North East Queensland Butterflies and Moths - Part 1 - Butterflies
*** Web Site Update - Images For This Issue
Go to images


After having a moderate winter season we head out to the garden with Cassowary Sightings and in The Bug Files we look at Birdwings in the Garden. A special feature this issue is an extensive list of Food Plants for a Selection of North East Queensland Butterflies and Moths - Part 1: Butterflies. Plus the regular segments as well as a Book Review of a 2001 Whitley Award Winner.


Corresponding with maximum abundance of fruit in the forest at this time of year, Cassowary breeding season is underway. Being territorial, one particular adult bird has been frequenting the garden eating fallen Cassowary Plum and Quandong fruits. Previously unrecorded on the property, this cassowary appeared in good health except for a single tick upon its neck.

Over the years we have observed a number of Cassowaries and at times adult males with young birds. My first encounter with a Cassowary was indeed by surprise. Working in the office one day, I looked up from the computer to be greeted by one enormous eye peering in through the window. This initial encounter led to eight months of study and documenting this single bird's activity. For the purpose of my study and due to his mode of introduction, I nicknamed this bird 'Cheeky'. A young bird with his early mature colourings, he also had a tick on his neck as well as a cataract on his left eye. Cheeky appeared in the breeding season of 1996 but unfortunately has not been seen since.

Go to Images>


Attention: All Budding Entomologists!

If you're involved in a study group working on insect related topics then we want to know about your activities!

Reports on insect observations or surveys; class activities; even an environmental issue being addressed at your school or completing a group project, as long as insects play a part in the overall project we would like to hear from you. Only one catch, you're group or project must be teacher/leader administered.

The most interesting contributions will be posted on our regular website update. All contributions will be acknowledged and if accepted, contributors will receive notification as to when their work will be posted.

Send your contributions via email; by mail to AIF, PO Box 26, Innisfail, Qld 4860; or fax on 07 40 633 860.


This issue we congratulate Hartley Stevens from Trinity Grammar School, Kew who recently received a B+ for his school project. Hartley was set a project topic of farming in Australia and after researching via the Internet, he chose the Australian Insect Farm.


The Australian Insect Farm
P.O. Box 26,
Innisfail Qld. 4860
Telephone 61 07 40 633 860
Fax: 61 07 40 633 860

There has been a common phobia of insects and spiders as they were unknown, new and a pest so people killed them, ran from them or captured them to stop them from hurting people. Most of the insects are harmless and won't hurt you, if you leave them alone. They are considered by insect lovers as beautiful animals, not monsters, and insect lovers are trying to stop pesticides that kill them. The education of people about insects is widely ignored and people pay no attention to the insects. The AIF (Australian Insect Farm) is trying to teach people about insects and why we should look after them. Here are some things that the AIF teach.

A. They are increasing awareness of insects and their fauna.

B. To supply entomologists, professional and amateur, and other researchers.

C. To supply information to schools and other public organisations.

D. To promote insect habitats and their conservation.

E. To establish working relations with entomologists and the government.

F. To promote the economic value of the project as land management.

The farm is right next to a river that offers a great breeding place for water insects and flies.

           This is a flow chart of what the farm does with the insects. They send some insects off to entomologists and other researchers. A few insects go to pet shops to be sold. The rest of them the farm does their own things with.
           If the climate changes, then some of the insects could die and it would be very hard to cope because if too many insects die all would have to be moved to a new location and that could kill them alone.
           The farm would probably make a lot of money going round to schools and public places to tell people about the farm and insects in general. The government may have given a bit of money to the farm.
           The farm this year has gone to many schools and to public areas to teach the community about the insects and what they do. One of the bad things that happened this year was that the farm closed to the public so the public can't go to the farm, but the farm has been going to schools and other places.
           The farm has a great opportunity of teaching people about the wonders of insects, the life of insects and a whole variety of things that it does. I would strongly advise getting more information about the farm.

By Hartley Stevens


Native Bees of the Sydney Region - A Field Guide
By Anne Dollin, Michael Batley, Martyn Robinson & Brian Faulkner. Australian Native Bee Research Centre Publication, NSW 2000.

Winner of the Whitley Award 2001 Best Field Guide

Australia's first field guide to Native Bees, this book is designed for the enthusiast interested in observing and supporting Native Bees in their garden. Easy to read text and beautiful colour photographs, this is a handy book for quick identification. The first smaller section provides information on garden plants for native bees, nesting habits as well as designs for artificial nests. Most of the book is devoted to species identification in which both common and scientific names are used. It also features a useful guide to the pronunciation and meaning of scientific names.

As this book explains, native bee species deserve more recognition for their important role as pollinators of native plant species as well as commercial crops. With around 200 native bee species known in the Sydney region, 31 of the most easily recognised species are clearly detailed in this book. While it is a regional guide many of the species covered are also common in other states. I highly recommend this book for any persons with an interest in native bees.

For book enquiries or more information on The Australian Native Bee Research Centre visit their web site:


The feeding of beetle larvae has now mostly finished as many species have started pupating and a few tanks now showing pupae. After resting in their pupal cells since winter, the first of the adult Stag beetles has freshly emerged. As cockroach-breeding season is approaching, females have been housed in preparation for the delivery of their young. The Lepidoptera shelves are full with larva of all stages of development. Mantid nymphs have started to emerge from their oothecas. The first of the female Centipedes has produced a clutch of eggs. Lastly, stick insect ova are hatching at a steady rate with freshly emerged nymphs being transferred daily to the stick insect house and other suitable housing.

Go to Images>

New Species - Buprestidae

Stanwatkinsius rhodopus sp. nov.

Described by Dr. S. Baker & Dr. C. L. Bellamy
Holotype: female, Marsupial Creek E Croydon, NQld. 1996 J & P Hasenpusch.
Male: Unknown
Female: Size: 8 x 3 mm (1)
Colour: Head roseate. Pronotum black medial band, roseate laterally. Scutellum mainly black. Elytra dark blue along suture and at apex, green-blue laterally. Ventral surface and legs cupreous purple.
Distribution: This species is know from a single locality in N Qld.
Remarks: This species occurs further north than any other known species. Because of its unique colouration it cannot be confused with any other species.
Etymology: The species is named for its rose coloured head and pronotum from rhodopus, Gk rosy.

Genus Revision
Stanwatkinsius is a new genus of Australian jewel beetles. Seven species of jewel beetles previously placed in the genus Cisseis are recognised as different and a new genus Stanwatkinsius is proposed to accommodate them, their synonyms and nine new species.

*summary from - Stanwatkinsius, A New Genus Of Australian Jewel Beetles (Coleoptera: Buprestidae: Agrillinae) With A Key To Known Species. By S. Baker and C. L. Bellamy. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 2001

New Distribution - Buprestidae

Dr S. Baker, University of Adelaide, South Australia described this species in 1996, which at that stage had been recorded from a single locality. Extending its distribution, Jack has since collected a few specimens from a further two areas in North Queensland.

Castiarina paulhasenpuschi sp. nov.
Holotype: male, Marsupial Ck near Croydon, Qld. 1995, P. Hasenpusch.
Allotype: female, same data as holotype.
Paratypes: same data as holotype
Colour: Head, bronze. Antennae bronze with green reflections. Pronotum bronze, laterally with green reflections. Scutellum green. Elytra yellow with black markings with blue reflections. Ventral surface and legs green. Hairs silver.
Size: Males, 13.2 mm. Females, 13.5mm.
Remarks: The distinct colour and pattern of this species distinguish it from all other species, as does the structure of the last visible abdominal segment in females, in which the claws are unique. The specimens examined were all caught by use of a colour lure in an area where no plants were flowering.
Etymology: the species name honours Master Paul Hasenpusch its discoverer.

* summary from - Seventeen New Species Of CASTIARINA (Coleoptera: Buprestidae) by S. Baker. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 1996.

Two New Areas of Distribution: The known distribution of this species has been extended to include Georgetown, Qld; Bang Bang (100km south of Normanton) Qld.



Butterflies are very host plant specific with individual species relying upon their selected host plant. Females are attracted to their host plants for depositing ova as well as providing a food source for the emerging larva. Without the correct food plant available butterflies simply cannot survive. Two main factors need to be supplied to successfully have butterflies frequenting the garden. The first is a food source for the adult butterflies such as nectar producing flowers. Adults will be enticed to visit and feed upon the nectar. Second and just as important is the food plant necessary for the females to deposit their eggs upon. Without the correct food plant available female butterflies will not lay their eggs to produce the next generation of butterflies.

This is the tale of a tree in our garden that supports the growth of a single food plant for the Cairns Birdwing Butterfly - Ornithoptera priamus.

At the base of a Canthium odoratum tree, a single Aristolochia vine grows. A four year old vine, at present resembling only a mere shadow if it's former self. During the summer months a large healthy vine grew, weaving its way through the branches, reaching the very top of the tree where its lush tips reached out beyond the trees foliage. The food plant for the Cairns Birdwing butterfly, many females visited the vine over the summer season, each depositing just a couple of eggs before flying off in search of other vines.

Those females that did visit deposited a total of 38 eggs from which 27 fat little grubs emerged. After initially feeding on the lush tips of the vine, they moved out to the older leaf growth on the vine. With such a large number of grubs being supported by one food plant, at times up to five and six larva feeding on a single leaf, in due course leaves disappeared. When this eventuated the grubs quickly turned to eating the stalk of the vine, completely severing it in several places. But all was not lost for the vine, fortunately at this stage of the larva's development, they were ready to pupate.

Within days all larvae were wandering aimlessly around the tree. Some larva travelled down the trunk and left the tree all together. For the ones that remained on the Canthium tree, they individually selected their site for pupation. Eventually, larvae spun their silken girdles and hung in their pre-pupa stage after which they soon changed to pupa. A total of 18 large golden pupae hung scattered amongst the tree foliage.

After supporting so many larvae the vine had taken a considerable battering and had been reduced to only a four inch chewed off stalk. But like other Aristolochia vines in the garden which had also been devastated in this manor, the first tiny new shoots appeared within days.

Some weeks passed by in which time the vine had started to speedily inch its way back up the tree.

Go to Images>


The Wet Tropics and Cape York regions have Australia's largest, brightest and the greatest variety of butterflies and moths. In the Wet Tropics alone there are well over 60 % of all the continent's butterfly species. Below are species of plants which are caterpillar food hosts of the widest range and most impressive of moths and butterflies in North East Queensland (Cooktown to Townsville and westerly tablelands). Common names are used for all butterflies, whereas the majority of moths are identified by their Latin names. The caterpillars of many species accept the foliage of more than one host plant species as food. Of more than 20,000 Australian species, less than 1 % of moths and butterflies are listed below. There are about fifty times more kinds of moths than butterflies in Australia!

As this list is quite extensive, it is presented in two parts.


* Largest and most colourful species of butterflies.
Plant Form
v vines which need support (trellises, trees, fences, etc.)
t large to medium sized tree
s shrub or small tree
h herbaceous plant and small plants generally

Host Plant Species Butterflies which feed on Host Plants
Acacias (wattles) A. flavescens, A. holosericea, A. melanoxylon and species with composite true leaves (not phyllodes) are best. t * Several Jewel Butterflies, * Tailed Emperor, Damels Blue.
Acronychia spp. (esp. trifoliate species) Aspen / Acid Berry t Occasionally * Ulysses and * Orchard.
Adenia heterophylla Lacewing Vine v * Cruiser,* Red Lacewing, Glasswing
Alocasia brisbanensis (syn. A. macrorrhiza) Cunjevoi / Native Elephant Ear h Cruria donowani.
Alphitonia excelsa Red Ash (other Alphitonias host a subset of listed species) t Blue Jewel, * Fiery Jewel, * Copper Jewel, * Large Green Banded Blue, Small Green Banded Blue, Indigo Flash, Diggles Blue.
Alpinia caerulea Native Blue Fruited Ginger h Banded Demon
Aristolochia tagala Native Dutchman's Pipe v Cairns Birdwing, * Red Bodied Swallowtail, * Big Greasy.
Aristolochia thozetii Native Dutchman's Pipe v * Big Greasy, * Red Bodied Swallowtail.
Austrostenisia spp. Blood Vines v * Orange Aeroplane.
Brachychiton acerifolius Flame Tree t Common Aeroplane, * Tailed Emperor, Helenita Blue, Pencilled Blue.
Breynia oblongifolia Grass Yellow, Parallelia solomonensis and P.
Coffee Bush s/t latizona and possibly* Australian Rustic.
Canthium coprosmoides Coast Canthium s/t Cephanodes hylas, Cephanodes kingii, Gnathothlibus erotus.
Canthium odoratum Sweet Suzy s/t Cephanodes hylas, C. kingii and possibly Dudgeonea actinias.
Capparis mitchelli Bumble Tree t C. canescens and C. arborea Equally good v Chalk White, Caper White, Australian Gull, Narrow Winged Pearl White.
Cassia retusa Climbing Cassia v Orange Migrant, Yellow Migrant.
Cassia tomentella Velvet Bean t/s Lemon Migrant, Pale Ciliate Blue, Small Grass Yellow, possible Tailed Emperor, Thalaina angulosa.
Celtis paniculata Silky Celtis Tree t *Australian Beak, * Tailed Emperor, Common Aeroplane.
Celtis philippensis Common Celtis t * Tailed Emperor, Common Aeroplane, * Australian Beak.
Cissus spp. Native Grape / Watervine v Cruria donowani.
Clausena brevistyla Clausena t * Ambrax,* Capaneus, * Orchard.
Commersonia bartramia Brown Kurrajong t * Peacock Jewel.
Connarus conchocarpus Shell Vine v * Large Green Banded Blue.
Cryptocarya hypospodia Northern Laurel (C. mackinnoniana and c. triplinerva also good) t * Macleays Swallowtail, * Blue Triangle, * Common Oak Blue, Helenita Blue, rarely Eastern Flat and Purple Moonbeam 9 on C. mackinnoniana).
Cupaniopsis anarcardiodes Tuckeroo t *Common Oak Blue, * Fiery Jewel, Pale Ciliate Blue, Dark Ciliate Blue, Margarita Blue, Six Lineblue, Glistening Blue, Hairy Lineblue, Common Tit.
Cynachum carnosum (syn. Ischnostemma carnosum) v Black and White Tiger, Lesser Wanderer, * Blue Tiger, Common Crow.
Derris trifoliata and D. heterophylla Climbing Derris v * Orange Aeroplane, Broad-Banded Awl.
Desmodium heterocarpon Pea Shrub h Tailed Cupid.
Dipteracanthus austrasicus Northern Blue Bush h * Blue Argus, Grass Blue, * Common Eggfly.
Dipteracanthus bracteatus (mostly from Cape York) h *Lurcher, * Common Eggfly.
Discorea transversa Native Yam v Black and White Flat.
Doryphora aromatica Sassafras t * Macleays Swallowtail, * Blue Triangle.
Drypetes lasiogyna Yellow Tulipwood t Common Albatross, Grey Albatross.
Elaeocarpus spp. Quandongs t * Fiery Jewel, Parallelia constricta, Eastern Flat.
Endospermum medullosum (syn. E. myrmecophilum) Toywood Tree t Urapteroides astheniata.
Entada phaseoloides Matchbox Bean v * tailed Green Banded Blue.
Eucalyptus spp. Eucalypts t Very few butterflies * Meluminas australasiae, * Euproctis spp., Miskins Blue, Cyane Jewel, Miskins Jewel.
Euodia bonwickii Yellow Euodia t *Ulysses Butterfly.
Euodiella muelleri Little Euodia s/t * Ulysses butterfly.
Exocarpos cupressiformis Cherry Ballart s/t * Fiery Jewel, * Wood White, Euproctis spp., Acyphas leucomelas, Crow Butterflies, Genduara subnotata.
Excarpos latifolius Native Cherry s Genduara subnotata, * Fiery Jewel, Acyphas leucomelas.
Faradaya splendida October Glory Vine v * Common Oak Blue, Common Tit, Pale Ciliate Blue, Eone Blue.
Ficus spp. Esp F. racemosa, F. opposita, F. benjamina Figs t Crow Butterflies, Common Moonbeam, Lymantria spp. And Glyphodes spp.
Gahnia sieberana Swordgrass Sedge h Helena Brown, Large dingy Skipper, Spotted Skipper.
Glochidion spp. esp. G. sumatranum, G. Phillipicum Buttonwood / Cheese Tree t * Common Oak Blue, Blue Moonbeam, Helenita Blue.
Gymnanthera oblonga v Crow Butterflies (two species).
Hemigraphis spp. (esp. H. royenii) h/s * Australian Lurcher, Brown Soldier.
Hibiscus tiliaceus Coast Cottonwood t * Common Oak Blue.
Hollrungia spp. Native Passionfruit v * Red Lacewing, * Cruiser.
Litsea leefeana Brown bollywood (L. australis, L. breviumbellata are good) t * Purple Brown - Eye, * Blue Triangle and possibly Eastern Flat.
Lomandra longifolia L. filiformis Mat Rush h Symmomus Skipper, Eliena Skipper, White - Spot Skipper, Orange White - Spot Skipper, Iacchus Skipper.
Lophostemon conferta Brush Box t * Common Red - Eye, * Rare Red - Eye, * Fiery Jewel, Eastern Flat.
Melaleuca spp. esp. M. quinquinerva, M. viridiflora, and M. leucandendra t * Dull Oak Blue, Common Oak Blue, Cyane Jewel.
Melicope elleryana, M. vitiflora Pink and Yellow Flowering Evodia t * Ulysses Butterfly
Melodorum spp. esp. M. uhrii v * Green Spotted Triangle, * Four Bar Swordtail, * Pale Green Triangle.
Microcitrus spp. Native Limes t/s Dingy Swallowtail, * Orchard, * Ambrax, * Chequered Swallowtail, * Capaneus.
Micromelum minutum Lime Berry h/s * Orchard, * Ambrax, w Capaneus.
Miliusa spp. (esp. M. brahei) s/t * Five Bar Swordtail, * Green Spotted Triangle.
Mistletoes esp. Ameyma spp. Dendrophthoe spp. (Melicope elleryana, Eucalypts, Callistemons & Melaleucas are excellent Misteltoe hosts) h/s * Northern Jezebel, w Union Jack, * Common Jezebel, Nysa Jezebel, * Genoveva Azure, Purple Azure, Olane Azure, Dodds Azure, Cooktown Azure, Silky Azure, Amaryllis Azure, * Narcissus Jewel, * Wood White, Diggles Blue, various * Oak Blues.
Mucuna gigantea Burny Bean v * Green Awl, Common Aeroplane,
Myrmecodia beccarii Ant Plant h * Apollo Jewel.
Neolitsea dealbata Bolly Gum / White Bollywood t * Blue Triangle, * Purple Brown - Eye, Eastern Flat, common Red - Eye.
Pararistolochia deltantha and P. sparusifolia Mountain Dutchman's Pipe & Mt Lewis Dutchman's Pipe v * Cairns Birdwing, * Red Bodied Swallowtail.
Parsonsia velutina Silkpod Vine v Common Crow, Cairns Hamadryad, possibly w Blue Tiger.
Passiflora aurantia and P. herbertiana Native Passionfruit v Glasswing, * Cruiser.
Pipturus argenteus White Mulberry s/t * White Nymph, Speckled Lineblue.
Planchonia careya Cocky Apple s/t * Copper Jewel, * Fiery Jewel, Common Tit.
Polyalthia nitidissima Canary Beech t * Green Spotted Triangle, * Pale Green Triangle, Five Bar Swordtail.
Polyscias elegans Celerywood t Large Pencilled Blue.
Pseuderanthemum variabile Pastel Flower or Love Flower H * Leafwing, Danaid Eggfly, * Blue Banded Eggfly, * Blue Argus and * Common Eggfly.
Rauwenhoffia leichardtii (syn. Melodorum leichardtii) Zig Zag Vine v * Four Bar Swordtail, * Pale Green Triangle, * Green Spotted Triangle.
Rhyssopteris timorensis v Peacock Awl, Pale Ciliate Blue, Peacock Jewel.
Salacia chinensis, S. disepela Lolly Berry (fruits) v * Australian Plane, Cornelian.
Scolopia braunii Brown Birch s/t Australian Rustic, Eastern Flat.
Secamone elliptica Corky Milk Vine v * Blue Tiger, Crow Butterfly.
Senna surratensis Native Singapore Shower s/t Orange Migrant, Yellow Migrant, Grass Yellow.
Tetrasynandra longipes and T. laxiflora Small Tetra Beech s * Regent Skipper.
Terminalia spp. Damson / Almond t * Common Oak Blue, * Narcissus Jewel, * Copper Jewel, Brown Awl, * Dull Oak Blue, Ophius coronata
Urtica incisa Native Nettle h * Australian Admiral.
Uvaria membranacea v * Pale Green Triangle, * Green Spotted Triangle.
Wilkiea spp. s * Regent Skipper.
Zanthoxylum nitidum and v Z. veneticum s/t Yellowwood * Orchard Butterfly, * Ambrax, * Capaneus.

Part 2 - Moths, next newsletter.

Images for this newsletter include:

               * Cassowary Sightings
               * In the Lab
               * Research News
               * The Bug Files

Next newsletter will feature Part 2 of the Foodplants list for Lepidoptera.


Sue Hasenpusch Editor

Copyright 2001 Australian Insect Farm.
All Right Reserved.

If you would like to be placed on our email list to receive our newsletter, send an email to, with Newsletter Listing in the subject line.

Australian Insect Farm
PO Box 26 Innisfail
Qld Australia
Ph/Fax: 07 40 633 860

Australian Insect Farm © 2006-2024
website by sharelynx - lynx