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Tree Bucket
Apr 1, 2016

R.I.P.idura leucophrys
You guys like really amateur field ecology, right?
WELL by the looks of things, all lace monitors / tree goannas (Varanus varius) have unique scale patterns on their snouts. They're basically scuttling around the forest with QR codes on their faces. (If you are unfamiliar with the chonk lizards of south eastern Australia, tree goannas are around 1.5 metres long and pretty chill. There's lots of urban legends about them shredding people, but I think that's just a hateful anti-reptile stereotype.)
Anyway, thanks to these distinctive patterns, we can identify and track individuals without having to catch and tag them (at great risk to the animal and greater risk to ourselves). This could help us develop a clearer picture of their population dynamics.
These photos show three different individuals around the forest near my house; the last two pictures were taken one week and a couple hundred metres apart. This gives us a bit of a feel for V. varius population density in box-ironbark woodland!
also now that we can tell them apart, we need to name them. Any thoughts?


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deoju
Jul 11, 2004

All the pieces matter.
Nap Ghost
I saw a blue tongued goanna in Western Australia. It was p cool.

Bloodfart McCoy
Jul 20, 2007

That's a high quality avatar right there.

deoju posted:

I saw a blue tongued goanna in Western Australia. It was p cool.

In Northern Australia I saw a man with a dick twice as thick as a can of Fosters, but half as short.

Nooner
Mar 26, 2011

AN A+ OPSTER (:
Those are som cool 'zards OP

bossy lady
Jul 9, 1983

Songbearer
Jul 12, 2007




Fuck you say?
I visited Italy and I didn't realise they had qt lizards all over the place I was elated. I love watching them scamper into their holes and poke out. England sucks because we have no fun lizards being sweeties

Inexplicable Humblebrag
Sep 20, 2003

hang around a drystone wall when it's warm and sunny

Tree Bucket
Apr 1, 2016

R.I.P.idura leucophrys

Inexplicable Humblebrag posted:

hang around a drystone wall when it's warm and sunny

A lizard wrote this. Trying to lure you within striking distance.

deoju posted:

I saw a blue tongued goanna in Western Australia. It was p cool.

I didn't know they existed! Rad.

Dumb Sex-Parrot
Dec 24, 2020

Inexplicable Humblebrag posted:

hang around a drystone wall when it's warm and sunny

good luck finding that in england, home of the bog people

Charles Bukowski
Aug 26, 2003

Taskmaster 2023 Second Place Winner

Grimey Drawer
Those look like cool dudes, I also wish we had more lizards in more temperate regions. There were tons of lil ones in Cuba and I enjoyed catching them. I don't think they bit, much.

free hubcaps
Oct 12, 2009

Yea it's weird, here in Southern New england we have numerous native snake and turtle species but only one type of lizard and those are not super common. Wonder why lizards aren't as common as their reptile brethren in more temperate climes

Charles Bukowski
Aug 26, 2003

Taskmaster 2023 Second Place Winner

Grimey Drawer
They flew south for the winter and never came back. Like my parents.

Stoner Sloth
Apr 2, 2019

Tree Bucket posted:

You guys like really amateur field ecology, right?
WELL by the looks of things, all lace monitors / tree goannas (Varanus varius) have unique scale patterns on their snouts. They're basically scuttling around the forest with QR codes on their faces. (If you are unfamiliar with the chonk lizards of south eastern Australia, tree goannas are around 1.5 metres long and pretty chill. There's lots of urban legends about them shredding people, but I think that's just a hateful anti-reptile stereotype.)
Anyway, thanks to these distinctive patterns, we can identify and track individuals without having to catch and tag them (at great risk to the animal and greater risk to ourselves). This could help us develop a clearer picture of their population dynamics.
These photos show three different individuals around the forest near my house; the last two pictures were taken one week and a couple hundred metres apart. This gives us a bit of a feel for V. varius population density in box-ironbark woodland!
also now that we can tell them apart, we need to name them. Any thoughts?




hmmm Davo, Shazza and Jonesy

Lace monitors are rad - we used to run into them a lot camping when i was a kid. I remember them breaking into the food while we were out getting firewood one time and they stole and devoured some cheese.

Also their big cousins, the Perentie (Varanus giganteus) are cool too!

Stories of them attacking humans are very much overblown but there really have been some serious ones over the years that have required hospitalization. These are almost always defensive on the goanna's part, occasionally a panicked one will mistake a person for a tree and climb them and more rarely due to aggression around food (especially meat) or if they have eggs nearby.

Their whip-like tails can cause considerable damage, as can their sharp claws but also their bite is powerful enough to break an arm and inflict deep and nasty wounds that bleed severely because they're venomous. They can also run on their hind legs faster than a human being and have been known to chase people down on the rare occasions they become violent towards a person. An attack could certainly be potentially fatal.

But yeah attacks are vanishingly rare, almost by definition the people involved are at fault and frankly there's a lot more dangerous Aussie wildlife to worry about lol

down1nit
Jan 9, 2004

outlive your enemies
I've got the obvious itch to call at least one Victoria but that seems waaay too on the nose. Or Joanna. Or Kate McCartney (the one with the eyes).

Very charming scales. What is their passion in life, what are they "known for" locally? (Edit: whoops, other than questionable attacks)

Got any pics of this box-iron bark ecotype these pokemon chill in? I'd love to see any plants/bugs/mushrooms/archaea etc you snapped.

Empty Sandwich
Apr 22, 2008

goatse mugs

Chauncey


PsKPuss (his imgur id: https://i.imgur.com/PsKPuss.jpeg )


El Legarto

Charles Bukowski
Aug 26, 2003

Taskmaster 2023 Second Place Winner

Grimey Drawer
I'm afraid all Chaunceys are armadillos

Tree Bucket
Apr 1, 2016

R.I.P.idura leucophrys

Stoner Sloth posted:

(snip) They can also run on their hind legs faster than a human being and have been known to chase people down on the rare occasions they become violent towards a person

This was a good post and now I'm really really glad my camera has a great zoom so I don't have to get too close.

free hubcaps posted:

Yea it's weird, here in Southern New england we have numerous native snake and turtle species but only one type of lizard and those are not super common. Wonder why lizards aren't as common as their reptile brethren in more temperate climes

Hmm. I wish I had a neat answer for you. That's really weird.


yes

down1nit posted:

Got any pics of this box-iron bark ecotype these pokemon chill in? I'd love to see any plants/bugs/mushrooms/archaea etc you snapped.

WELL
This ecotype is home to a lot of really really small birbs-
(variegated fairy wren, jackie winter, grey fantail, rose robin, spotted pardalote, rufous whistler, eastern yellow robin, some kinda thornbill.) These are all tiny animals- the spotted pardalote is about the size of your thumb- and the weird thing is, they all flock together. You'll be standing in an otherwise empty bit of forest, and then a fantail will appear, then three thornbills, and a couple of pardalotes, then more fantails... they all have slightly different feeding strategies, so I guess they aren't competing with one another too much, and having allies around to keep an eye out for bad guys must be helpful.
As for other wildlife- well, I'm pretty good at photographing birds, but mammals and reptiles are really wary of humans, so this is the best I've got-


(an echidna, an egg-laying mammal; bearded dragon; jewel spider; camera-shy wallaby; scarlet sundew. I mean the last one is a plant, but it's a carnivorous plant, so it's an honorary Critter imo.)



Other birds include the owlet-nightjar (a hand-sized owl that eats moths), rainbow bee-eater, and white-winged chough (aaaaaaa.) My bird species count for our shire is at 91, so I'm holding off on just filling the thread with birbposts.



On entering the forest, most people describe it as "weird" or "ugly" or "creepy" or "haunted" or "possessing serial killer vibes." And, well, fair enough; these woodlands grow on soils that are thin, rocky and nutrient-poor even by Australian standards. These soils are probably gravel by european standards. It's a hard place for plants to survive; there's lots of bare-branched trees and scrabbly shrubs, and the ironbarks themselves have black gnarled bark that looks fire-damaged. The grass-trees have weirdly human proportions and look like they are moving just as you turn your back. And the coral lichen has evolved to migrate, to an extent. BUT when the afternoon light shines through the ironbark leaves, or when rain comes and a week later the whole forest is flowers from top to bottom... it absolutely is beautiful, in an austere kind of way.
This sparse ecosystem explains the wildlife: it can't really support large mammals, but makes a great home for flocks of small insect-eating birds. It Is A Good Place.

Tree Bucket fucked around with this message at 21:40 on Feb 12, 2024

naem
May 29, 2011

aminals

ChickenHeart
Nov 28, 2007

Take me at your own risk.

Kiss From a Hog

Tree Bucket posted:

Australian Forests

Hell yeah these rule; it's neat to see other ecosystems in Australia beyond "Outback" and "Coastal."

I assume wildfires are a consistent part of this area? Can I eat the lichen and gain powers?

Tree Bucket
Apr 1, 2016

R.I.P.idura leucophrys

ChickenHeart posted:

Hell yeah these rule; it's neat to see other ecosystems in Australia beyond "Outback" and "Coastal."

I assume wildfires are a consistent part of this area? Can I eat the lichen and gain powers?

While a lot of Aus. forests are highly adapted to fire, box-ironbark woodland isn't. It's certainly hot and dry enough, but the leaf litter accumulates really slowly and there's large patches with no understorey at all. It burns about as readily as a quarry, and for the same reason.
I haven't tried eating the lichen. Maybe I should. WHAT'S THE WORST THAT COULD HAPPEn

i must compose
Jul 4, 2010

Until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.
That the lizard from fern gully

Tree Bucket
Apr 1, 2016

R.I.P.idura leucophrys

i must compose posted:

That the lizard from fern gully


Science says yes

Snowglobe of Doom
Mar 30, 2012

sucks to be right

Tree Bucket posted:

This was a good post and now I'm really really glad my camera has a great zoom so I don't have to get too close.

Yeah you really don't want an up close personal experience with them. I've told this story a few times but my brother knew some guys who run a pet shop that specializes in reptiles and even though they had a whole bunch of venomous snakes which they had to be cautious around the only critter in the shop which they were genuinely scared of was the big lace monitor. They had a special rule for that fucker that there had to be two people present whenever the cage was open in case poo poo went south


Enhance

Platystemon
Feb 13, 2012

as a person who never leaves my house i've done pretty well for myself.

Lizard got a coke habit.

Bid deal. :rolleyes:

Autechresaint
Jan 25, 2012

I donít get this, you just posted a tree. Where is the animal.

Tree Bucket
Apr 1, 2016

R.I.P.idura leucophrys

Autechresaint posted:

I donít get this, you just posted a tree. Where is the animal.

Oops, I must have posted the wrong picture. This one's just a random bit of pine forest, sorry

down1nit
Jan 9, 2004

outlive your enemies
Haha. I love it. Just a big ol fatty.

But, yes, please post more trees! Let's see this ironbark thing. Do eucalyptus end up here too? Ferns? Slime mold? Protea/Banksias?

Bouillon Rube
Aug 6, 2009


I love big ol lizards. Hereís a cool iguana that I met in Mexico last week

down1nit
Jan 9, 2004

outlive your enemies
Horace

Tree Bucket
Apr 1, 2016

R.I.P.idura leucophrys
Horace

Empty Sandwich
Apr 22, 2008

goatse mugs



flubber nuts
Oct 5, 2005


Horace

MoonshineWilly
Feb 7, 2007

Damn you, harlot! Science and I know what we're doing!
Horace

MoonshineWilly
Feb 7, 2007

Damn you, harlot! Science and I know what we're doing!
What kind of camera are you guys using? These are some great photos.

Tree Bucket
Apr 1, 2016

R.I.P.idura leucophrys

MoonshineWilly posted:

What kind of camera are you guys using? These are some great photos.

Ahaha. When we visited Sydney I went out to get some photos of the harbor at sunset. A passing guy said to me "nice camera! Is that a Camsio retrograde lenser with dual 38 mil thrusters?" or something like that, and I had to reply, "honestly I don't know, I got this thing second-hand from a relative who works at a camera shop."
To which he replied, "haha! What's the focalised aperture on the wide receiver? 8-inch? 8.5?"
And I had to repeat, "Dunno. I just point it at things and hope for the best."
And then he left looking depressed.
I'm a terrible photographer, but quite good at sitting in a thorn bush for half an hour waiting for a thumb-sized moss-coloured bird to get close enough to film.

down1nit posted:

But, yes, please post more trees! Let's see this ironbark thing. Do eucalyptus end up here too? Ferns? Slime mold? Protea/Banksias?

Ironbarks are a kind of eucalyptus; they get their names from-

-well, you get the idea. They look like they've been burned, except where they bleed deep red sap. Their bark is weird, but the leaves are classic eucalypt: grey-green, narrow, waxy. They smell great if you crush them, but I can't recommend eating them unless you are a koala and have spent the last million years slowly abandoning your higher brain functions in favor of increasingly robust toxin resistance levels.
Anyway, on decent soil, ironbarks can get a beautiful dense canopy, with the grey-green of the leaves contrasting with the vivid red stems. The northern kilometre of our forest, however, does not have decent soil; it is thin, gravelly, nutrient-poor and terrible at holding on to moisture. Along the entrance trail, the ironbarks look like this:

-the colouring is great, but the canopy is relatively thin. About a third of the way from the top of the tree you can see the denser, lighter leaf mass of a parasitic mistletoe. (One is fine; three or more is bad news.) Meanwhile the base of the tree looks like this:

-with the fallen bark, leaf litter, and various eucalypt resins combining to create a chemical environment that is very hostile to other plants.
But birds love ironbarks. These trees produce huge amounts of blossom, and in Australia, nectar sits firmly at the base of the food web. Big nomadic flocks of half a dozen different bird species will congregate and move from tree to tree drinking the nectar and getting fat off various sap-drinking bugs, singing to each other the whole time. It's great to watch.
And the ironbarks themselves look great (if you are patient.) In dawn or sunset light, they glow stained-glass-green with slashes of charcoal black and thousands of specks of red. At midday, the waxy reflective coating on the leaves makes them shine brilliantly against the pure blue sky in a scene utterly drenched with UV light; it looks like a bad special effect. The leaves sound great during rain, and smell great afterwards. And at the right time of year, the trees are absolutely coated in vivid blossom...
I'm a fan, I guess.

Zefiel
Sep 14, 2007

You can do whatever you want in life.


Hah, beaten to post a Mexican Iguana. Oh well, have another one, this one was just being big and taking in the rays in the middle of an ancient city. Place was absolutely rife with them, and turns out their colors are very good camouflage, once or twice I walked past one and didn't even notice until it moved. Or maybe my eyesight sucks already.

Tree Bucket
Apr 1, 2016

R.I.P.idura leucophrys

Zefiel posted:

Hah, beaten to post a Mexican Iguana. Oh well, have another one, this one was just being big and taking in the rays in the middle of an ancient city. Place was absolutely rife with them, and turns out their colors are very good camouflage, once or twice I walked past one and didn't even notice until it moved. Or maybe my eyesight sucks already.



You probably narrowly avoided being eaten by one. (Look, I don't know how big they are.)

down1nit
Jan 9, 2004

outlive your enemies
Ahhhh that's the stuff! I've always loved how absolutely imposing a eucalyptus could be. I've never seen bark like that on one. Smooth? Sure. Paper sheets? Yeah, why not. This looks like some random impressive pine.

Is that parasite native or an oopsie? Native parasites own.

Seeing the main stem just bereft of any branches until waaaay up is such a neat habit here, are they all like that? Thanks for getting a shot of the debris around the base, that's an important thing to notice if you're hiking.

Literally A Person
Jan 1, 1970
Probation
Can't post for 19 hours!
Good thread. Nice animals.

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GetDunked
Dec 16, 2011

respectfully

Literally A Person posted:

Good thread. Nice animals.

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