Another Look at the Newly Discovered Hot Pink Slug form Australia
by Carrie Arnold
He’s big. He’s slimy. And he’s … neon pink?! Meet Triboniophorus aff. graeffei, a new species of 8-inch-long (20-cm-long) slug that’s found only on one Australian mountain.
Scientists already knew that a bright-pink slug lived on Mount Kaputar (map), thinking it was a variety of the red triangle slug, a species common along the east coast of Australia. But new research shows that the colorful critter is actually its own species, said Australia’s National Parks and Wildlife Service ranger Michael Murphy.
“Recent morphological and genetics work by a researcher working on this slug family—the Athorcophoridae—has indicated the Kaputar slugs are a unique species endemic to Mount Kaputar and the only representative of this family in inland Australia,” said Murphy, who’s been stationed on Mount Kaputar for 20 years…
Driving along a road through the National Park, we came across this very unusual encounter between a Spotted Quoll (Dasyurus maculatus) investigating a Short-beaked Echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus) on the road. I never dreamed that I would ever see a Quoll in the wild so it was very exciting!!! He hung around long enough for us to get some pics and then ran off.
Mantispids are small to medium-sized insects with prominent raptorial forelegs similar to those of praying mantids. However, mantispids are not closely related to mantids. They belong to the order Neuroptera (net-winged insects) which also includes the lacewings, antlions, and owlflies.
Also known as the brown catfish, the blind shark is a species of carpet shark found off the coast of eastern Australia, ranging from Mooloolaba to New South Wales. Unlike what their common name suggests the blind shark can see just fine, it was named ‘blind’ because it has a habit of retracting its eyeballs when brought the the surface. Blind sharks are nocturnal and emerge from their caves at night to feed on small fish, crabs, cephalopods and sea anemones. Blind sharks reproduce viviparously (live offspring) and seven to eight pups are born each year.
Lerista is a diverse (~ 80 species) genus of skinks endemic to Australia, commonly known as sliders. The genus is especially notable for the variation in the amount of limb reduction. The variation ranges from short-bodied forms with large legs bearing five toes, to elongate forms completely lacking legs. The body length of the lizards is 33–103 mm (1.3–4.1 in).
Their locomotion is linked to their body shape. The shorter skinks with prominent limbs travel on the surface; the longer skinks with reduced legs tend to burrow more. A phylogenetic tree of Lerista, derived from DNA analysis, reveals that limb loss has happened multiple times within this group. Limb loss has occurred relatively recently, in the past 3.6 million years or so.
Family Elapidae. These small snakes are distributed through eastern Australia. The 4 species in this genus are all venomous, but not dangerous to people. They inhabit a variety of forest types, from woodland to rainforest. They are generally nocturnal and feed on lizards and reptile eggs. They have a distinct “crown” pattern on their heads, which gives them their name. (via: Wikipedia)
(photo: T - Dwarf Crowned Snake, C. krefftii, 15 cm - Jason da Silva; M - White-crowned Snake, C. harriettae - TeeJayBee; B - Golden-crowned Snake, C. squamulosus - Tnarg 12345)
Australia’s leading scientific expert on the endangered Leadbeater’s possum has publicly lambasted the Victorian state government, claiming it is the first ever domestic administration to take “calculated actions” that it knew could wipe out a threatened species…
Newly discovered dance repertoires in an Australian bird may be the most sophisticated in the avian world.
Many birds use song and dance to attract mates. But the superb lyrebird performs a series of four distinct dances set to the tune of four different songs, in a performance more elaborate than the most elite avian dancers, a team of Australian researchers reports today in the journal Current Biology.
The team filmed 12 adult male lyrebirds to tease apart the details of their song and dance.
“The first one sounds like a video arcade game,” said lead author Anastasia Dalziell of the Australian National University in Canberra. “When he’s doing that, he usually walks sideways, a little like the grapevine step in human dance moves.”…
Also known as the Radjah Shelduck or the Burdekin Duck, the raja shelduck is a species of shelduck native to northern Australia and New Guinea. Raja shelducks usually inhabit mangrove forests but will visit freshwater swamps, lagoons, and billabongs as well. They feed mostly on molluscs, insects, algae and other plant material. Rajah shelduck pairs mate for life and usually nest near their food source. Their nests usually consist of down and rarelycontain other nesting materials.
✌THE HUNTSMAN SPIDER- Spiders in the Sparassidae family
For the average person, huntsman spiders are possibly one of the scariest spiders. They have long hairy legs, they have enormous fangs and they appear in your bathroom shower when you least expect it!!! They have been immortalized in the film Arachnophobia (1990), but not in Spiderman like the Wikipedia article says. Spiderman used Steatoda spiders, which don’t look like huntsman spiders at all, and they are not black widows (Latrodectus) either as some people may think… anyways, back to huntsman spiders:
Huntsman spiders are part of the Sparassidae family. These spiders are widely distributed worldwide, and they are particularly common in Australia. They tend to be found in crevices on rocks and in logs, under loose bark on trees, on foliage and even in your bathroom! Don’t squish them, they will eat pests like cockroaches!
Probably the most terrifying characteristic is their size. Females tend to be larger than males, with body sizes of around 2cm, and their leg span can be up to 15cm! Like all true spiders, huntsmen have 8 legs and 2 large fangs which inject venom to their prey. They eat insects and other invertebrates by injecting venom to immobilise and digest their prey. They are not aggressive to humans, their bite may be painful, but the venom is not toxic to humans.
Delena cancerides, the spider which appears in the film Arachnophobia, is the only known huntsman spider with social behaviour. It is also one of the two spiders worldwide which have social behaviour but do not construct a web snare. Delena cancerides has one of the most interesting spider social behaviours, with some social characteristics similar to those of eusocial insects. For example, most social spiders are not aggressive towards introduced spiders of the same species in a colony, however, Delena cancerides is capable of differentiating closely related family members with intruders (Also known as kin selection).
Biological classification: Animalia- Arthropoda- Arachnida- Araneae- Sparassidae- Not sure about the big one in the first picture, but the little guy on my lamp and speakers is a Holconia sp.
Researchers have discovered that the brightly colored frills of the iconic Australian frillneck lizard (Chlamydosaurus kingii) can be used to predict the animals fighting ability.
In a recent paper published in Behavioral Ecology, researchers from Macquarie Univ. and The Australian National Univ. examined which traits were significant predictors of a male frillneck lizard’s success when fighting. Of those tested, two traits were identified as significant in contest success: body mass and the brightness of the lizard’s frill color. As expected, being bigger helped in 83 percent of the wins but what was surprising was that males with a more colorful frill patch won 90 percent of contests.
Did you know… that tiny channels between the pointy scales of this Australian desert lizard, the Thorny Devil (Moloch horridus) capture rainwater and dew that is then delivered to its mouth by capillary action.
Monitor lizards vanishing to international trade in pets and skins
by Jeremy Hance
The world’s monitor lizards remind us that the world was once ruled by reptiles: this genus (Varanus) includes the world’s biggest lizards, such as the stunning Komodo dragon and many other island kings. A large number beautifully-colored and patterned, these lizards are known for their intelligence and their apex role in many island food chains. However, a new study finds that the world’s monitors, especially those in Southeast Asia, are vanishing due to the international pet trade and for their skins, which are turned into handbags and straps for watches. Meanwhile the rapid destruction of their rainforest homes is exacerbating the situation…