Termite swarming - a sequel

We don't need a weather station to tell us that the barometric pressure is falling in Spring - the sudden appearance of swarms of termites is just as reliable an indicator. 

Yesterday we again witnessed this regular event. But this time we got a closer look at some of our home skinks taking advantage of the windfall. 

This little guy is Saproscincus mustelinus, the Southern Weasel Skink. This species normally only makes an appearance at dusk or shortly after dark. But the termite swarm brought it out into the open at midday. In fact it took up prime position on top of one of our many tree stumps - conveniently, right next to our woodfired oven on a day when I was baking bread. So I was in prime position to make a movie of the feast.


The skink didn't attempt to eat the many ants that were scurrying around with the termites - to the point where it ignored ants running around its head! I've read that this ant species, which is stingless, exudes a noxious odour when threatened. 

The Weasel Skink shared its stump and the feast with another skink species - the Grass Sun-skink Lampropholis guichenoti.


And another log some distance away was occupied by a much larger species - the Yellow-Bellied Water Skink, Eulamprus heatwolei. This is the regular outpost of this individual.


The termites provided a meal for more than the skinks. Many other animals were digging in, including workers of the ant Anonychomyrma sp. These were significantly smaller than the termites that they were carrying away.