As a painter, my eye is attuned to see the reality in front of me. As a writer, my mind leaps to the story lying under the skin of the factual world I see.
Stepping outside my studio, I amble through the small patch of rainforest bordering my back garden. I sometimes uncover what I’ve come to call the ‘Animal Jokers’ in Nature’s pack of wildlife cards.
1. The Assassin
- Despite its fearsome name, the assassin bug is a friend to the gardener. When insect pest species attack your favourite plants, you’ll be glad to spot the best natural joker123 remedy, poised to strike. These bugs are slow movers, so when one found its way indoors, I grabbed a wire sieve and contained it long enough to photograph before restoring it to its habitat.
2. The Dragon
- Myths about dragons fill story-books for children but the only ‘dragons’ to be seen in Australia belong to the insect family. Many dragonfly species hover over small streams gurgling through the forest. One is known to live in grassed places near ponds.
- Lizards come closer to the storybook figure of a dragon. 3 species inhabit the tropical rainforest but I’ve yet to spot the one called ‘Water Dragon. ‘ A large goanna lived here since before we built our home. Patterned scales give this Lace Monitor its name. We’ve watched several generations flourish, then vanish, moving away to claim territories of their own.
3. The Ghost
- Whatever your opinion on the possibility of ghosts, most people who ascribe to the notion agree on one attribute – ghosts appear white. A plausible theory is held to explain the acceptance of early European settlers by the Aboriginal people of Australia. Like that of most ancient peoples, Aboriginal folklore and religion included forms of ancestor worship. It’s thought the white skin of the Europeans signalled they could be the ancestors, returned.
- My only encounter with a ‘ghost’ was the glimpse of what I assumed to be an albino species of Skink. Carrying my camera, I snapped a quick shot before it slipped between the cracks of the decking. Later, I realised the strong morning sunlight was the sole cause of the little lizard’s ‘ghostly’ appearance.
4. The Giant
- In a hurry to open our front gates, I recoiled in surprise when my nose nearly touched a giant grasshopper sprawled across the lacy iron panels. A scramble ensued to fetch our best camera but no rush was needed. The ‘giant’ was there to stay. What it wanted is beyond my understanding. Perhaps the design of wrought-ironwork it rested on might amplify its appeal to prospective mates? Blending in might protect it from predators?
- Examination of the enlarged photos revealed an extraordinary feature of this insect. Spines covered most of its body including even its feelers. Identified as the Prickly Katydid, a harmless leaf-eater, it grows to 10 cm in length.