Until recently, sightings of this rarely-seen Scorpion-tailed Spider (Arachnura melanura) could have been counted on one hand, then approximately fifty of them were found on one tree in our tropical fruit orchard. A star-apple fruit tree (Chrysophyllum cainito), with an abundant growth of epiphytes, was loaded, but given the amazing mimicry of a dead leaf, it is possible that in the past they were merely discarded without proper scrutiny.
Proud father, Crinkle Cut presented his two new chicks last week. They are smaller than the two pictured above, from a previous clutch. As privileged observers we can extend our congratulations to Daintree Rainforest matriarch, Big Bertha and comment that there’s still life in the old girl as she is now being dutifully courted by another male, Taiga/Tulli. Big Bertha has an awesome responsibility to spread her genetic pool as widely as possible across her domain.
The magnificent Phricta spinosa (Redtenbacher), otherwise known as the Spiny-legged Rainforest Katydid or colloquially the Wait-a-while Cricket, is about 100-mm in length and is so well camouflaged that its’s extraordinary beauty is hidden through its ability to blend in with its surroundings.
For years a Boyd’s Forest Dragon has adorned Cooper Creek Wilderness directional signs and advertising. More recently, the ‘Grand Fan Palm Gallery’ has usurped pride of place on our brochures and general presentation. We have some of the most outstanding rainforest in the Daintree, extremely rare, ancient primitive lowland rainforest that has not been substantially logged or cleared.
Daintree Rainforest inspiration for ceremonial face-painting may originate in the most unexpected places. The respiratory portion of the ventral surface of a Golden Orb-weaver’s abdomen could be such a site. The sharp-eyed scrutiny of a curious rainforest child may lay the foundation of a memory that may re-emerge through dreaming in ceremonially important periods of later life.
Much admired by visitors from around the world, these magnificent Red Siris (Paraserianthes toona) tables have been reduced to fragments by an unidentified rainforest giant on the left. The picnic tables were 7.2-metres in length, but they crumbled under the weight of a 30-metre Daintree rainforest tree. It is a sad loss.
The last time I photographed this astonishing event, I posted it under Creatonotos gangis and its chemical communications. This more recent image, captured last night, is of poorer quality, but the coremata was less retracted and worthy of publishing for its greater proportions. The tufting at the ends of the major branches show the extent of retraction.
Reported with wind-speeds of 300-km/hour, Category-5 Tropical Cyclone Ita was contending with Cyclone Yasi in destruction stakes. Lacking the breadth of Yasi, Ita made up for it in concentrated power. We know when a cyclone is coming by tour cancellations and media reports. Cairns Airport was closed down and we were housebound and waiting. We kept track of Tropical Cyclone Ita on the Bureau of Meteorology website throughout the evening of Thursday 10 April 2014. The cyclone graduated to Extreme Tropical Cyclone Category-5 at 10.00pm and was moving in a south-west direction towards Cape Flattery.
Photographed last evening alongside a fast-flowing, open section of Cooper Creek, the Common Mist Frog (Litoria rheocola) is listed as ‘Endangered’ under the IUCN Red List, the Commonwealth Government’s EPBC Act 1999 and Queensland’s Nature Conservation Act 1992.
Safe drinking water is vital to all known forms of life, including humans, yet less than 0.3% of Earth’s water is in rivers and lakes. The abundance and quality of beautiful fresh water in Daintree Rainforest sustains an astonishing celebration of life and underpins the essential value of inhabitancy.