Recently, I went to Melbourne Aquarium with my family. The goal was to take photos of the interesting species and then go on the official website later to learn as much as I could about thm.
That plan was flawed. I’ve quoted from the website where it was possible but, as you’ll see, there was limited information. It was also a bit rushed, as you would expect with an excited kid.
I’m planning to return and take my time. Try some more experimental photos and get the actual names of the fish.
Sawfish live in shallow waters around river mouths and freshwater systems, moving between freshwater and saltwater. They are related to sharks and stingrays, and can grow to over 6 metres in length! These distinctive animals have a long saw-like extension called a rostrum. Sawfish use their rostrum to find prey as their eyesight is poor. The sharply-toothed saw is swung at prey, stunning or killing small fish and prawns which it then devours.
Also known as the Bowmouth shark and Mud skate, this species is known for its distinctive thorns on the bony ridges of its head and a white snout. The upper surface of its body is blue grey in colour with white spots. Shark rays can grow up to 3 metres in length and reside within coral reefs, though they sometimes have a preference for sandy or muddy habitats. Their diet consists of crustaceans and molluscs.
When I first arrived at Wombolano Park, I thought “ooh. This would be awesome.” It had that perfect balance of natives and overgrowth that makes it easier to find stuff. I’m probably wrong, I’ve had very limited experience with looking for bugs.
I didn’t have much time to spend on what bugs I did find due to it being a plant excursion. It was just quick snaps. I did get some extended looks while others were looking at orchids :D.
This still had the ISO settings from the night before so didn’t turn out properly. Robber fly, not sure if its mating.
Both of the above images have been identified as leafhoppers. Which is actually quite interesting, because when I see the family ‘cicadellidae’ I immediately think of a cicada. Cicadas actually belong to the family Cicadidae, but both families are part of the same superfamily, which is Cicadoidea.
Setocoris – Sundew Species
This is a sundew bug. It is so cool. Me being me, I got distracted by the sundew when I noticed this guy. Here is what was said when I submitted it to Bowerbird:
They specialise in scavenging on insects trapped on Drosera – those spiny, long, legs assist in avoiding being trapped by the sundew’s sticky ‘tentacles’. Only three described species currently (all from WA), one is virtually wingless with the other two fully winged like this one. We have a winged species in Tasmania which doesn’t properly match the descriptions of any of the two winged forms from WA – yours looks close in colour pattern to the male form of the Tasmanian species
I thought “ooh. That sounds unique.” I have this obsession with trying to find a new species and trying to identify it. I know its silly, I’d just love for those hours waiting for to get the right photo would actually amount to something. According to this website, there is a lot of potential in the area:
This rather ornate little bug (as in true bug or Hemiptera) is an undescribed species of Setocoris, the sundew bug genus. Setocoris are rather enigmatic, in that there are three named species, another 150 species with unpublished manuscript names and an additional 75 species that are not yet well enough known to be named.
Even if my observations turn out to be nothing important, I’m loving the learning process. 🙂 Just need to set aside a weekend to properly research everything I’ve already seen.
No idea what the below bug is.
The spider I never saw…
I was looking at some flowers when I saw a bug poking out. No matter how I tried, though, I could never seem to get the bug fully in the frame. I pulled back the petal and it didn’t move which was odd, and still some of it was obscured. I got what I could and gave up.
It wasn’t until I got home and looked at it on the computer before I noticed that a spider was eating it! Wow, how lucky! The spider looks like a crab spider from the Lehtinelagia genus, but I wouldn’t know how to narrow it down from there.
Nature is awesome sometimes 🙂
Was a fab trip. Looking forward to returning to the field and seeing what else I can observe. I’ve changed anxiety meds and I’m so much calmer about the learning process. Stats are saying I don’t get many visitors to this blog, so I don’t have to worry about getting too nerdy when doing write ups 🙂
Earlier this week, I visited Wombolano Park as part of an excursion with the Field Naturalists Club of Victoria. I was pretty nervous about going. It was my first time meeting these people, in an area I’m unfamiliar with. I was also very aware of my limited knowledge with plants. It didn’t help that I’d only gotten 5 hours sleep after looking for owls the night before.
It was a brilliant trip, actually. There was an overwhelming amount of information share on the day but I took a lot of photos and then asked people from the club to help with identification. I’ve been able to learn a lot 🙂
Common bird orchid
According to the sign near this colony, “these orchids were once quite common in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, but are now less frquent due to loss of habitat.” Despite the loss of habitat, this website says “these terrestrial orchids are quite widespread.”
Nillumbik Landcare Network described the orchid as follows:
To 6 cm tall, with two broad leaves at the base of a hairless green-brown stem bearing a purple-green to red-brown flower, resembling the gaping beak of a young bird. Forms large colonies.
Regarding the orchid flower, the website says “A single deep red brown to purple green flower (occasionally two), to 40mm across. Dorsal sepal erect incurved and lateral sepals erect but recurved. Purple heart-shaped labellum with between 4 and 10 blunt deep red to black calli.”
The Potato Orchid is a leafless saprophytic orchid. The flowers are bell shaped with the labellum or lip enclosed by the rest of the flower with the sepals and petals joined together forming a tube . The flowers are light brown or cinnamon coloured with cream coloured inside. the steam grow to about 75 cm tall and produce clusters of up to twenty flowers. Flowering is in late spring and early summer from about October to January varying according to range.
via Oz Native Plants
Still not overly interested in orchids, but hey. Any knowledge can be handy!
Clematis aristata is one of six species of clematis found growing naturally in Australia. It is evergreen, has starry white flowers and a habit of smothering shrubs that lie in its path.
via Garden Drum
OH YEAH! Another species of clematis. This was identified on the day but I couldn’t recall the name. I do wonder though, are there any introduced clematis species growing in the wild?
Platylobium is a small genus of 4 species all of which occur naturally only in eastern Australia (via ANPSA).
The species is an erect or straggling shrub with wiry stems which usually grows to a height of between 1 to 2 metres. However on the Co-op it has only been observed in a sprawling flat form close to the ground. The leaves are opposite with very short, almost unnoticeable petioles. The leaf surface has a pronounced reticulation of veins on the surface and is dark green above and lighter below. The leaf size ranges from 2 to 5 cm in length and 1 to 2.3 cm in width.
via Round The Bend
Thrift Leaved Trigger Plant
Was pretty stoked to see this as someone had tweeted about trigger plants in prior week. A new friend explained what a trigger plant was. Apparently there are about 300 in Australia? I’m doubtful I’ll be able to ID them just by looking at them… yet 🙂
These plants definitely look different to the ones I’ve seen growing back at the property.
I’ve forgotten what the below plant is. I know I found an image that matched it somewhere, or perhaps I got confused. Either way, enough plant research for me today!
I don’t recall the name of the sundew. It was identified by botanical name. I think it was pale, but can’t be sure. It shows that I need to memorize the names of the features of the 12 drosera species.
It was beautiful and I’m so keen to find more species.
Moss + Lichen
I’ve yet to identify these various species, mostly because the research for this post was already quite time consuming. I didn’t get to spend as much time looking at them and photographing them as I would have liked, but I didn’t mind. I can always return and I learned so much anyway!
This park is fascinating. I could have easily spent a couple more hours there if I wasn’t exhausted. I nearly fell asleep before getting home as it was. I’m very keen to start exploring more of the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, and visiting other bush reserves, and seeing just what I can learn.
I need more energy – or to move <3 Or a car! Darn, the plant nerds have got me now.