Posted on December 26, 2010 - by admin
Male spiders spend their whole life preparing for the time they will mate. All of their energies, movements, feedings, molting, and even the ultimate sacrifice of their own lives are designed to aid the continuation of their species.
When males are sexually mature, they transform a hunger for food into one of procreation. Before seeking a partner, the male needs to prepare for courtship by pumping his palps full of sperm. A male does not have a penis. He deposits sperm from beneath his body onto a specially constructed silken mat and from there siphons it into his palps. He is now ready for mating. (more…)
Posted on December 25, 2010 - by admin
The abdomen of the female Red-back is round and large with characteristic orange to red markings on the middle of her back. Mature females are larger and darker than males. In fact, males are often mistaken as baby spiders. The Red-back is often found in dry-sheltered sites in the corners of sheds, under tables, around pot plants and in outdoor toilets. Although the female may lay up to 300 eggs, as with many other spiders, the young are cannibalistic and only a few reach maturity.
No specific first aid is prescribed, as the venom of this spider moves very slowly. The use of restrictive bandages will only increase pain. Seek medical advice immediately, taking the spider along for positive identification. Iced water in a bag may be applied to the bite to reduce pain. (more…)
Posted on December 24, 2010 - by admin
Golden Orb spiders build huge golden silky wheel webs that are remarkably strong and often strung between small trees in woodlands and gardens. The female spiders are large and can often span the width of an adult’s hand.
Female Golden Orb spiders are characterized by the yellow bands that run around the joints of their black legs. Their slender body is a yellow-brown to silver-grey color. These spiders eat insects – even cicadas.
Bites from these spiders can be quite painful, and usually only occur if harshly provoked. (more…)
Posted on December 23, 2010 - by admin
The family Mygalomorphs includes some of the largest, most ancient and most dangerous spiders in the world. In Australia we have 10 families of Mygalomorphs. Included within are the Funnel-web, Mouse and Trapdoor Spiders. (more…)
Posted on December 22, 2010 - by admin
Spiders do not set out to harm people. A common sense approach will reduce the chances of your being bitten by a spider, and in most cases, prevent it from happening. Wearing suitable footwear and gloves while gardening and exercising caution when moving things around your shed or garden are examples of simple precautions that should be taken.
SEEK MEDICAL ADVICE IF BITTEN BY A SPIDER OF ANY TYPE
The vast majority of spiders are harmless to humans. A bite from most spiders will heal quickly, producing very few side effects. Even the more dangerous spiders in Australia rarely produce effective envenomations. (People react differently. The type of reaction depends upon a number of factors that range from the size of the spider, to the size of the person.) (more…)
Posted on December 21, 2010 - by admin
Spiders have a body consisting of two parts, the abdomen and the prosoma. They have four pairs of legs and six to eight ‘simple’ eyes. They do not have any antennae, wings or true jaws. They are found in every habitat of Australia, from the harsh deserts of our arid interior to the slopes and rocky outcrops of our snow capped mountains. (more…)
Posted on November 8, 2010 - by admin
All parrots have a number of distinctive adaptations that equip them for their unique lifestyle and set them apart from all other species of birds.
A prominent, strong bill is designed to crack open nuts and cones to extract seeds.
Two toes point forward and two point backward. Each foot can essentially work like a hand. Food is generally held in the left foot when feeding.
Cockatoos are different to other parrots as they possess a distinctive erectile chest that is raised when the bird is alarmed. Male cockatoos may also raise their crest during courtship and territorial displays.
The tongue helps to manipulate food held in between the upper and lower mandibles. Lorikeets and other nectar and pollen feeders have a brush-tipped tongue.
Posted on November 7, 2010 - by admin
Lorikeets are restricted in their distribution to southern regions of the South Pacific and Polynesia. Of the 55 known species of lorikeet, only 7 reside in Australia, The Australian species are believed to be relatively recent emigrants from New Guinea. Unique dietary adaptations, such as their bush-tipped tongues, help set lorikeets apart from all other parrots.
Rainbow Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus)
Strikingly vibrant plumage coupled with characteristic chattering and screeching make positive identification of the Rainbow Lorikeet easy.
They are frequent visitors to many suburban backyards, while their playful nature and ability to whistle make them popular household pets.
Nectar and pollen from the blossoms of native flowers such as eucalypts, melaleucas, grevilleas and banksias, are the lorikeet’s natural diet. Their bills are relatively long and narrow, enabling them to penetrate flowers and fruit. Their legs are short, thereby increasing their agility when moving amongst thin twigs and branchlets in the tree-tops.
Most of the Rainbow Lorikeet’s time is spent in the trees. Despite their vibrant plumage they camouflage quite well, their presence betrayed only by their noisy chattering and characteristic screeches.
Gregarious by nature, it is common to see large numbers of lorikeets congregating at a communal food source or roosting site. Currumbin Sanctuary, a well known tourist attraction on Queensland’s Gold Coast, is internationally renowned for daily visits by large flocks of wild lorikeets. To the delight of many visitors, these colorful, noisy birds perch on heads, shoulders and arms as they are hand-fed a special nectar mix – definitely a fun, but often sticky experience!
Scaly-breasted Lorikeet (Trichoglossus chlorolepidotus)
‘Greenies’, as they are commonly called, are often seen amongst flocks of Rainbow Lorikeets. These two birds will hybridize to produce mottled-looking offspring.
Musk Lorikeet (Glossopsitta concinna)
Like other Lorikeets, nectar and pollen constitute the major part of their diet – the pollen providing the protein content. They feed predominantly from the canopy of tall flowering eucalypts.
Little Lorikeet (Glossopsitta pusilla)
Their name alludes to the fact that these are Australia’s smallest lorikeet. Nectar, pollen, blosssoms and fruit are their favored diet, however they are not troublesome to orchardists as are some other lorikeet species.
A structural adaptation that assists the lorikeet’s feeding and sets them apart from all other birds is the possession of a strong, muscular brush-tipped tongue. The bristles on the end, called papillae, are retractile. During feeding, they are extended to assist in their collection of nectar and pollen from flowers.
The bristles are delicate and will wear down if rough food is ingested. Lorikeets kept as pets must receive an appropriate diet. Soft fruit, dry lorikeet mix and fresh native flowers should comprise their diet.
Attract wild lorikeets to your garden!
Establish a grove of native, flowering trees such as eucalypts, melaleucas, bottlebrushes, and grevilleas.
Posted on November 6, 2010 - by admin
Crimson Rosella (Platycercus elegans)
A spectacular sight is a flock of these beautiful birds on the ground, feeding on the berries and the seeds of various grasses. Fortunately this sight is not a rare one, as these parrots currently remain widespread and relatively abundant. They can be observed in the outermost branches of tall eucalypts and moist forest trees.
Southern members of this species may be yellow or orange compared to their predominantly red counterparts. Despite their vibrant plumage, they are able to camouflage remarkably well into their dark green background.
Double-eyed Fig-Parrot (Cyclopsitta diophthalma)
Cyclopsitta, the generic name for ‘Cyclops’ parrot, refers to the presence of a colored spot close to the eye in some races of Fig-Parrot.
The smallest of the parrots, they often go undetected in their rainforest habitat as they feed upon various fruits, seeds and nectar high amidst the canopy branches.
The northenmost races of Double-eyed Fig-Parrots are relatively common. However, the southernmost race, Coxen’s Fig-Parrot, has been sighted on very few occasions over the past twenty years. It is one of Australia’s most endangered birds, considered to be in danger of imminent extinction.
While tree hollows are the preferred nesting site of most parrots, some nest in termite mounds, while others nest on the ground.
Posted on November 5, 2010 - by admin
Australia has one of the poorest records of wildlife preservation in the world. A result of this is that many animal and plant species are threatened with extinction. Parrots are by no means exempt from this carnage. There are several factors threatening the survival of these distinctive birds, two of which are outline below.
Huge sums of money are often exchanged on the black market in return for Australia’s unique wildlife. Parrots in particular are favoured across the globes as one of the most sought after types of bird.
Penalties for the illegal trapping of native wildlife are severe – 10 years imprisonment and/or $100 000 fine.
Glossy Black-Cockatoos are highly prized in illicit bird trade, their distinct beauty and threatened status making them prime targets for smugglers. Habitat destruction also presents a grave threat to the survival of these beautiful birds. Widespread removal of casuarina trees, their exclusive food source, has led to population fragmentation and a marked decrease in numbers.
Many of Australia’s native animals require tree hollows for shelter and breeding. Each of the parrots included within this brochure relies upon these hollows. In fact, almost one fifth of Australia’s birds depend on tree hollows as nesting sites.
Hollows are disappearing at a rate faster than nature can replace them.
It may take between 50 and 200 years for suitable hollows to develop. Although many of us may plant one, or perhaps several trees in our lifetime, most of us will probably not live to see hollows develop in the limbs of these trees.
Present rates of urbanization, land clearing and the removal of old growth forests are responsible for the widespread disappearance of animal homes.
The survival of this majestic bird, the Palm Cockatoo, depends upon the preservation of rainforest habitat in tropical far north Queensland, as well as the elimination of illegal smuggling