We all know marine turtles lay eggs and don’t provide any parental care for their turtle hatchlings. The mothers do leave some food for the hatchlings though, as yolk in the eggs. But how healthy is this yolk?
Mammals suckle their young and when they do, they can pass environmental pollutants from their bodies to their offspring’s. But are toxins that maternal turtles accumulate when feeding, passed on to their turtle hatchlings within the eggs? And if so, does it affect the turtle hatchlings’ chances of survival?
Sea kraits (Laticaudine) are sea snakes. They’re front-fanged (proteroglyphous) venomous elapid snakes and are common through much of the Indo–Pacific region. When they’re pregnant, the females stop eating! Seems like a strange thing to do when you need energy and nutrients to make eggs.
Why would they do that?
Francois Brisçhoux, Xavier Bonnet and Richard Shine set out to find out why by studying two of these kraits; Laticauda laticaudata and L. saintgironsi, on small islets in the Lagoon of New Caledonia. What a cool field site
When something is really dry, Aussie’s might refer it as being “as dry as a dead dingo’s donger” after all, Australia is a pretty dry place. But if you’ve been around a bit and are clocking up the years, you could also be as “old as a dead dingo’s donger”! Some interesting facts about the dingo and a video of the New Guinea singing dog (no it’s not a cartoon character!)
When animals invade new places they either sink, swim, or just get along. Unfortunately, when an invader does well in its new land, it can have devastating consequences for the native animals and plants. Suddenly there is a new competitor or predator in the midst and the natives don’t have the skills, spines or teeth to compete or defend themselves. Evolution works over many generations and there’s rarely time to adapt. But people can help.
Understanding how animals interact may help us tip the ‘balance’ in favour of native Australian animals. Here’s one example from the ongoing battle against the invasive cane toad (Bufo marinus – a native of South America). Can meat ants and cat food slow them down?
The name ‘Gondwana Rainforests’ conjures up images of mist laden mountains, covered in prehistoric trees, ferns and mosses. Like something out of a dinosaur movie, you imagine a place far from civilization, untouched by man. Perhaps even on another planet or moon? You may be surprised to know that these forests are ‘just down the road’!
Two hours drive from Brisbane or Sydney and you can explore these unique world heritage listed Gondwanan rainforests. What will you find there that others may never see?
A list of five basic things that make a good naturalist: Patience, Perseverance, Knowledge, An Inquiring Mind, and a camera! I present examples of how these things help a naturalist and other scientists discover things.
When I was younger we learnt about proverbs at school. I always wondered about this one
“A bird in the hand is worth or two in the bush”. This proverb is probably rushing around the minds of male brown antechinus (Antechinus stuartii) during their September mating season. For these little carnivorous marsupials it’s now or never! It’s time for a lek!
This article describes Maungatautari, a volcano that’s become a native animal refuge in a sea of dairy pasture. New Zealanders have been first at many things. They may also be the first to create ‘islands on land’. That is, ‘ecological islands’ on land, anyway.
The false water rat (Xeromys moyides) doesn’t live in any old mangroves. They’re picky and look for certain qualities in the real estate they choose. They need a dry house site and safe roads taking them to their supermarkets. Competition for real estate is tough on the edge of a growing city! Find out some more about Australia’s water mouse.