Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Scribbly gum

Our garden is covered with huge pieces of bark shed from our scribbly gums. Pieces up to 2 metres long dangle from the higher parts of the trunk, waiting for a high wind to tear them off and sail them through the air.

I love the scribbly gum - the smooth pale trunk, the spreading canopy which protects our garden from the fierce Queensland sun. The brown scribbles are amazing - caused by the larvae of the scribbly moth. It doesn't harm the tree and appears in many eucalypts. However, it is more apparent in the scribbly gum.
I love to pick up the pieces I find on the lawn and look at the markings. Like some ancient hieroglyphic language, they speak of the journey of the larvae climbing up the tree trunk, moving sightlessly to find the smoothest route and finally coming to a halt when they reach the pupa stage. Here they burst from the tree to pupate in the litter at the bottom of the tree.
I've never seen a scribbly gum moth ... very small, only 1-2mm in length ... but I'd like to thank them for their artwork in my garden.

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