Clothesline Neighbours


Sometimes our backyard neighbours are be a bit more neighbourly than wanted. About a month ago my wife Bronwyn was collecting the washing from the line when she noticed a Shield bug (Poecilometis sp) on her clean slacks. Fortunately these days her first reaction to something with six legs is to call me rather than to squash it. Closer inspection showed it had also deposited a neatly arranged array of green eggs.

Setting up the field studio I photographed the bug together with the one clump of eggs I had been able to remove from her slacks still adhering together. By photographing them in the one frame I was able to maintain the scale. If you look closely at the bottom of the freshly laid eggs you can see a black strand – courtesy of Bron’s slacks!

But there is more to this tale. A friend Denis Crawford, is working on a project that required a Shield bug. Denis took the bug and eggs to photograph and after releasing the bug kept the eggs. On Monday evening the 4th November, just 20 days later, he phoned to say they had hatched; thus completing a “life cycle” – from clothes line, to field studio and back to the garden.

-by John Tiddy, Victoria, Australia