Everything has its place and purpose. Producers produce; consumers consume and decomposers, you guessed it, decompose. Fungi consume organic matter and recycle inorganic molecules into anabolic metabolic pathways in plants and other organisms. With an evolutionary history extending beyond one-billion-years, they are highly refined, but particularly it would seem, within the oldest rainforest in the world.
If you can shoot it with a camera, you can shoot it with a gun, right? Well, not quite! Pigs are protected in National Parks by a management regime that declares: “NO SHOOTING IN NATIONAL PARKS.” Even if this were not the case, the disarming of the general populus has left the 24 million feral pigs in Australia without its predator and free to eat their way through Australia’s unique rain forests, and indeed, across all lands.
After more than twenty-years of searching Daintree Rainforest for all manner of cryptic life forms, we have at last photographic evidence of this rare Red Boobook (Ninox boobook lurida). The Southern Boobook (Ninox boobook) is known as Mopoke, Morepork, Spotted Owl or Marbled Owl.
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.