The strangler fig: everyone’s favorite killer

posted in: Tales of science, Writing | 2

A rainforest tree is subject to many mortal perils: shade, cyclones, fires, chainsaws. One of the most grotesque and extended deaths is carried in a tiny seed, rained down from above by complicit birds and bats. Many such seeds drop … Continued

Why is the house gecko noisy while most lizards are silent?

A recent visitor to our house – a keen naturalist from southern Australia – was startled the first time he heard the sound of an Asian House gecko, and was even more surprised that a gecko was responsible for the … Continued

Of bugs and booyongs

The rainforest holds many secrets in its high vaulted green ceilings, swooping loops of vines, a million soft mossy pockets and damp rotting piles of leaves. So many tales to tell. Of tree and leaf, beast and bug, season and … Continued

Swamphens in winter

posted in: Wildlife illustration | 6

Last winter Dowse Lagoon nearly dried up completely. The water- and swamp-plants died back, and green pick was hard to find. Every day, groups of purple swamphens would forage in the grassy parks nearby. The lawn grass around here is … Continued

Little red nomads head north for the winter

  Around Easter-time it starts. The stirring of retired folks – the ‘grey nomads’ – as they load up their 4WD’s and caravans and head north for the winter. In south-east Queensland you see them on the freeways, mostly up … Continued