Wild Hibiscus Tree – Harlequin and Friends
I’ve been observing the activity and tracking the residents for a while now, down in the forest, on the wild Hibiscus tree. The tree has white flowers with a dark red heart, beautiful clean colour when new. And a contrast that reaches deep inside, in sense.
The leaves have been mostly eaten for a while now, since the tree is also home to a few other creatures besides the Harlequin bug. There are small reddish brown beetles that roam all over the place, including all over the harlequins, who seem to mind quite a bit, getting very agitated when one climbs on their back.
The flower houses a host of squat dark flies that only seem to leave that dark heart when I disturb them, by moving the flower. Lately there has been a burgeoning of other bugs, such as the black and yellow assassins pictured, who seem to transform to the red and yellow beauty by climbing out of their old jacket.
Nothing like a new set of clothes to set you free.
The Harlequin is definitely the star of this show though. At first I thought I was lucky to get a few shots of an individual. Then I got a few shots of a few more individuals. That’s when I realised the hibiscus tree is home to these beautiful creatures, they didn’t go away.
Over time I visited the tree and observed the Harlequin bug in the various stages of its development. I watched it mature, eat, commune, grow wings, mate, lay eggs and guard and incubate them. Saw the young hatch and then herd themselves around the tree with the adult looking on for a short while.
It has been an eventful time, Hibiscus Harlequin time.
A privilege really, to witness the life of these beautifully coloured creatures. And here you have it in the comfort of your home, no need to go down the bug infested forest, with mozzies and little black biting midges chasing you.
© Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge