Author Gary Taylor ◦

what I do know, is that the more you know, the more you know… you really need to know more…

These pics are in reverse order…

First pic, “How’s this, is that better? Have you got me in focus? And you’ve got it on the right setting this time? Are you sure?… I can hang around while you check if you like…”

“No need to be cheeky little bee, but… yeah if you wouldn’t mind… 😄 Yep all good, got that one at least, thanks girl!”

Megachile (Eutricharaea) macularis © Gary Taylor
Megachile (Eutricharaea) macularis © Gary Taylor

Well that’s how it seemed… 😆

I first spotted her flying out with a leaf from under one of Gastrolobium spinosa (prickly pea) bushes that line the gravel road I was walking my dingo on and, knowing they’ll often collect and store a bunch of leaf cuttings, I had a look at where she came from and sure enough there were several fresh circle cut outs in one small area…

Megachile (Eutricharaea) macularis © Gary Taylor
Megachile (Eutricharaea) macularis © Gary Taylor

Awesome! So I waited a couple of minutes to see if she’d come back… and she did! Oh you bloody ripper, I’ve got heaps of “leaf cutter” pics, just none actually doing what they’re s’posed to do… and then she landed right in front of me, I couldn’t believe it. Finally! Right place at the right time… she chooses her leaf and starts cutting it out as I get the camera on her, but my camera has a screen only, useless if you’re on an angle with the sunlight on it… aaarrgh where is she? She’s nearly finished!…

Dunno, just gonna have to use the AVWM method (American in a Vietnam War Movie… that’s where you just hold the camera out in front of you, hold the trigger button down, blast off a hundred rounds and hope you hit something…. 😃 ) And true to form, I reckon start to finish was about 5 seconds and I missed everything 😆

Closest I got was the last pic, when she paused with her leaf on a stem for a moment (this is a tight crop) and I realised my zoom was right out… Oh, you’re joking… No wonder I couldn’t see her… 😅

Megachile (Eutricharaea) macularis © Gary Taylor
Megachile (Eutricharaea) macularis © Gary Taylor

So we waited, and again she came back 🙂 this time I’m zoomed in to where I can see her but I just couldn’t get her in focus… what’s going on here?… Oh Good one dickhead, you’re finally at the right place at right time and you’re on the wrong camera setting 🤣

Edited, this “leaf cutter”, Megachile (Eutricharaea) macularis, has just chewed a chunk out of a Gastrolobium spinosa… These are one of the deadly native Aussie plants that produces monoflouroacetate (1080 poison) in it’s leaves. Strong enough to kill sheep, scientific studies into this poison for use as an insecticide showed that a 0.007 % solution in water given to plants was enough to kill every sap sucking thing that tried to feed on it, and one thing you notice about them is how nothing dares even nibble on them… And although I didn’t notice I was on the wrong camera setting, I did notice that each time she cut a leaf to carry off, before she did, she landed on the ground… At first I wondered if she was just adjusting her load, but I can see her jaws working… perhaps trimming her leaf? Don’t think so, it almost looked as though she was collecting some sand grains too but not… Brushing her teeth? Making sure she doesn’t accidentally ingest the toxin?

Again, dunno, but what I do know is that the more you know, the more you know you really need to know more…