Archive for November, 2010
I wish I could give you a name for this attractive yellow bracket-fungus, but alas, I cannot. Not only do I not know it, the availability of reference material on the subject matter is frustratingly poor. Then again, every year that passes in the Daintree Rainforest reveals a multitude of fungal expressions that seem outrageously unfamiliar to me, like the intensity of the one captured in the image (above).
The warning has gone out to family and friends who are visiting. Nephi is looking for a cool, dark place to lay her eggs. She went into search mode three days ago and is still seeking the perfect nursery for her progeny. We’ll have to tread carefully so as not to squash the heavily bodied female walking slowly through the house.
Nephi is short for Nephila pilipes (syn maculata) the Golden Orb Spider and the world’s largest 2-dimensional wheel-web weaver. Her web fibres are believed to be the toughest substance weight-for-weight known to humankind, tougher than Kevlar and now being pursued for climbing ropes and bullet-proof vests.
… As I was saying, I was out photographing phasmids, two of which are captured in the image (above), although they may take some finding, when I was distracted by cassowaries. Now that I am back at the task at hand, I have observed these elongate insects annually, for some sixteen years, and consequently I know a thing or two about them. What I was unsure of was their identity. So in all matters ‘orthopteroid’, I defer to the generous expertise of David Rentz and in this respect, he referred it onto Paul Brock of CSIRO’s The Complete Field Guide to Stick and Leaf Insects in Australia.
Out photographing phasmids in the half light of this early morning, taking a chance between successive deluges, I spotted movement through nearby vegetation. An adult male cassowary and two chicks were heading my way and I wondered if my cassowary-like black t-shirt was the best choice for a solitary outing.
The adult is known to me as Crinklecut, for the distinctive waved-edge of his casque. Custard & Lucius are the two seventeen-month-old sub-adults. They were engaged in the ongoing tussle for authority that has become their modus operandi. Eventually they will be evicted from their father’s care and most likely by the brutality of the grand old dame of the Daintree Rainforest, Big Bertha.
When I gaze long into the desktop of my computer, this image gazes also into me. It is none other than the spectacularly cryptic Tettigonioid, Phricta spinosa. Also known as the spiny-legged rainforest katydid or wait-a-while cricket, its nocturnal status dramaticus blends into the character of a rainforest tree-trunk with a sublime diurnal discretion.
Travellers to the Daintree Rainforest come for a variety of reasons, but the most rigorous research ever undertaken, found that the primary objective was (unsurprisingly) to get into undisturbed rainforest. The second strongest objective was (just as unsurprising) to see some of Australia’s most unique wildlife in natural habitat.