02 December, 2010

Central Australian visit, animals other than birds

I am seriously explaining that lizards are not a health hazard, and how to handle them. Left to their own devices many of the kids would have stoned any lizard big enough to make a target.
This large female Katydid with her huge ovipositor was living in an Eremophilla at the top of an isolated hill surrounded by flat sandy country. The ovipositor is sticking up between the wings. This happened as she tried to get away from me. At first it protruded from under the hind wings. "The "katydid" is actually a Raspy Cricket, a gryllcridid, Hadrogryllacris sp. There are at least 3 of these large blackish ones and this one is probably undescribed," said Mr Smiley see comments below.
A very handsome and friendly cockroach. This one lived under a rock north of Alice Springs.
Feral Camels are a real problem but fortunately this part of the country does not have donkeys, horses or cattle. This family group were not very worried by our presence.
Camouflage is an important survival strategy and this grasshopper is a great example. Viewed against the rocks they almost disappear.
A highly camouflaged bug. The grains of sand were loosely attached.
A shield bug. Nymphs of this species were quite common on the rocks of the Musgrave Ranges but we only saw a few adults. Interestingly all the animals we saw were on rocks. I wonder what they could be eating.
Probably a Cyclorana frog of some kind. I have more pictures if someone would care to identify it for me. Cyclorana maini Thanks Stewart.
Military Sand Dragons, Ctenophorus isolepis, seem to disappear on certain backgrounds
Having this Netted Dragon, Ctenophorus nuchalis, sit up on a stump was great for viewing and photography.
The Thorny Devil, Moloch horridus, is a slow-moving dragon which feeds exclusively on ants.
On the other hand ctenotus lizards are very fast and hard get get a camera on in the wild. Fortunately for me the sky had only just cleared and this Blue-tailed Finesnout Ctenotus, Ctenotus Calurus, had not yet been able to warm up. This species feeds largely on termites living under and in the spinifex.
This Centralian Bearded Dragon was photographed at the Alice Springs Reptile Centre which has some very good displays. www.reptilecentre.com.au/reptiles.htm
A common gecko near Murputja was the Centralian Dtella, Gehyra montium, and not strictly nocturnal.
The Desert Rainbow Skink, Carlia triacantha, is more an animal of the gravelly soils where there is a build up of leaf litter.
Long-snouted Lashtail, Amphibolurus longirostris, is the same species as I am holding above.


Stewart Macdonald said...

Great stuff, Alan! Have you spent much time out that way before? I'm heading out there in January with a mate who's moving out to Alice for work. I've previously only spent a couple of days in the area. I'm looking forward to spending a decent chunk of time out there. I'll be sure to visit the botanic gardens. There are a whole bunch of bird (and reptile) ticks I can potentially get in the region.

Mr. Smiley said...

Hi Alan

Nice pix.That's the real Australia! The "katydid" is actually a Raspy Cricket, a gryllcridid, Hadrogryllacris sp. There are at least 3 of these large blackish ones and this one is probably undescribed.

Nice find.


Alan Gillanders said...

Thanks, Stewart and Dave. I'll amend the blog.