The Two-spined Spider (Poecilopachys australasia) is marvellously discrete by day but conspicuous at night, with a yellow upper-abdominal surface with two horn-like spines, giving this spider its common name. Yellow and white bands and some red-brown markings make the spider a striking visual presence under light.
The arrival of these Christmas Beetles informs us that the festive season is on its way, but these beetles were photographed on a collection of Golden Cane Palms a few kilometres away at Cockatoo Hill Retreat. It was our friend Carmen who discovered them amassed upon one of her flowering palms. A quick search was made of our own Cooper Creek Golden Palms and nary a beetle was found. We hear that the season is the reason for the appearance of these beautiful creatures.
Northern Stoney Creek Tree-Frog (Litoria jungguy) is endemic to northern coastal Queensland and listed as ‘Near Threatened’ on the 2006 IUCN Red List. Promoted as secure within ‘protected area estate’, the species is suffering continued decline in representativeness and quality of habitat, throughout its range. It is restricted to rainforest where it is usually found around freshwater streams. The Cooper Creek population is currently conspicuous, with prolific mating-events that can be observed on our nocturnal wildlife tours.
The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organisation. Its World Parks Congress 2014 is proposed as a landmark forum on global protected areas. As a World Heritage protected area, Cooper Creek Wilderness has an enduring interest in the decisions made through this International Congress. As an Ecotourism Accredited enterprise, we also have a hope that visitors who attend the conference will take the opportunity to visit our amazing rainforest and we are delighted to learn that our 4-hour Greater Wilderness Tour has been sponsored on the IUCN World Parks Congress website.
This colourful fruit fly Adrama selecta (Walker 1859) has emerged from the fruit of the extremely restricted Daintree Rainforest tree Ryparosa kurrangii (Webber 1999). Its emergence is particularly impressive, when the chemical character of the tree is taken into consideration. Ryparosa kurrangii releases the deadly gas hydrogen cyanide, at the site of tissue damage.
The beautiful Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher (Tanysiptera sylvia) has arrived in the Daintree Rainforest. The usual indicators that herald this ambassador of the wet season have taken place on cue. Mid-dry-season rain, about 10-cm occurred mid-October, softening the termite nests in preparation for the avian arrivals. The flight of the termite alates, kings and queens, has occurred and Jalbil has enjoyed its annual royal feast.
A Boyd’s Forest Dragon (Hypsilurus boydii) was recently seen digging under the roots of a semi-toppled Briar Silky Oak (Heterophylla musgraveana), propped up by a majestic Bull Oak (Cardwellia sublimis) over the past hundred years or so. Known to the Kuku Yalanji indigenous custodians as as ‘Jalbil’ over tens of thousands of years, the re-naming of this small, Jurassic dinosaur-relict, as ‘Boyd’s Forest Dragon’, occurred around 1951.
Big Bertha and Crinkle Cut have moved into mating mode for the second time this year. The large amount of fruit, generated by two cyclones, Oswald in January and Zane in May, have provided lots of food. In addition, Crinkle Cut’s loss of his sole chick has rendered Big Bertha’s realm low on chick numbers. It’s time to rebuild.
It’s been a dry, lean year for fungi, but nature’s creative artistry is never at a loss to showcase its exquisite talents. The earliest plants were single-celled spore-producing mosses, lichens and fern groups. Fungi have been separated into their own kingdom because many of their features are more akin to animals than plants. These are the real ancestral stock surviving through Pangea and Gondwana fragmentations, but because of their resilience during adverse conditions, they can form hardened cysts, then reappear when conditions are favourable.￼
Having just completed her first Greater Wilderness experience, our good friend Carmen departed for her magnificent Cockatoo Hill Retreat. Along the way, she stopped to remove some fallen palm fronds from her property’s driveway, when she spotted the newly emerged female Hercules Moth (Coscinocera hercules). Knowing the rarity of the find and the importance of photographing the moth in its pristine state, she promptly phoned Cooper Creek Wilderness.