The bulk of fieldwork is starting to wrap up for the year, so figured it was about time to update the website with some cool reptile finds! So far the list of herp species observations for this season stands at 11, 7 of those being new species for me (some pictured below).
Mine sites may be the most scenic of places, but the storms out this way are pretty incredible. These shots are from a two hour lighting show a few weeks ago.
Recently I managed to take a trip up to Charles Darwin Reserve, WA. CDR is a beautiful reserve, and boasts an impressive animal species list. Unfortunately timing for weather wasn’t the best, so not many herps around, just this lizard person and a few gecko species.
Recently I received my approval of PhD candidacy at Curtin University. My project, scholarship funded by the Centre for Mine Site Restoration (CMSR), will be looking at the behavioural responses of varanids (goannas/monitor lizards, pictured below) to mine site restoration. Watch this space for fieldwork updates!
For more information about CMSR, and the other student projects underway, see:
Some nights there unfortunately isn’t much in the way of herps to find, but we did stumble upon a couple of frog populations along Brookton Highway the other night. Mostly motorbike frogs and slender tree frogs, but all with pretty beautiful colourations.
Slender tree frog (Litoria adelaidensis)
motorbike frog (Litoria moorei)
Acanthophis antarcticus. Brookton Highway, WA.
One of the more interesting finds from herping outings. Death adders are easily distinguished by their triangular heads, and short, thick bodies, which taper into a thin tail. Death adders are the 4th most venomous snake in Australia, and hunt by an ambush technique. Using their thin tail as a lure (wiggling it, giving the impression of an insect), death adders wait for prey to pass, attacking when in close proximity. While creating a safety risk for bush-walkers, like many snakes, the death adder is not actively aggressive.
The death adder pictured was located around 10pm, next to a concrete underpass along Brookton Highway.
Capra hircus. Nature’s Window, Kalbarri.
Although looking pretty majestic, feral goats are a pretty big problem within Australia. They create all manner of issues for native fauna and natural (and agricultural) landscapes, competing for resources, and damaging vegetation/soil structure (increased erosion through overgrazing and trampling). They are also pretty terrifying when they suddenly appear and stare you down (especially when you look away for a second to grab a camera, and two more have appeared out of nowhere).
Crocodylus johnstoni. Annual freshwater crocodile survey. Windjana Gorge, The Kimberley.
This was one of the most fantastic experiences I’ve had; trapping and processing freshwater crocodiles in a truly stunning and beautiful environment.
Sunset at Windjana Gorge
All trapped crocs were processed (measured for head width, snout-vent length etc., weighed, and sexed), and released.
Crocodiles waiting to be processed
Preparing for release
Pteropus scapulatus. Tunnel Creek, King Leopold Ranges. The Kimberley, WA.
Heleioporous eyrei. Lancelin, WA.