Bug found a long way from home
THERE were flashes of bright red as the creature’s wings flapped in an attempt to fend off the predator’s beak.
At first cattle farmer Tom Seaniger thought the eager magpie had attacked a pigeon, but on closer inspection he realised the prey was of the six-legged kind.
“I’ve seen a lot of bugs in my time on the property, but I’d never seen anything like this one,” the Maryvale farmer said.
“All I could see was these beautifully coloured wings, wings like a butterfly flopping on the grass.
“A pecking death was a bad way to go, so I tried to save it, but he was a bit damaged from the attack.”
Even after the unusual insect sustained damage during the circle-of-life display, Mr Seaniger was determined to identify the dying bug.
“It looked like a large praying mantis and was about 15cm long with a wing span of 30cm,” he said.
“I took photos and sent them to Brisbane’s Queensland Museum.”
A couple of weeks later, Mr Seaniger received a reply stating the rare critter was a long way from home.
Queensland Museum Inquiry Centre information officer Steve Wilson said the photos showed a female which “closely matched a species called the red-shouldered stick insect (tropidoderus rhodomus)”.
According to resources, Mr Wilson said the stunning species was usually located in Western Australia, northern parts of Victoria, South Australia and southern New South Wales.
Mr Seaniger and his wife placed the distressed insect on a bush outside their home hoping it might recover, but it was evidently too badly hurt.
“The last we saw was the detached wings being carried away by ants.”
Mr Seaniger reckons the brightly coloured bug could have been marooned on a road-train before fighting for its life on his Maryvale cattle property.
“I’d never seen anything like it, but I wondered if anyone around here had seen them.”
Keep your eyes peeled for this colourful bug and contact the Daily News on 4660 4444 with your information and photos.