This adult Lace Wing was an encouraging find, in their immature form, lacewings are predators of other insects, some speceis form mounds to trap ants that slip in – sometimes assisted by flicks of sand launched their direction. Other lacewing larvae may be free roaming and wait in ambush with their jaws. Either way, they indicate that insect prey is present! This species lays their eggs in a horse shoe pattern on little stalks.
After dusk, we found this Golden Crowned Snake, Cacophis squamulosus, they are nocturnal, and have a pinkish peach coloured belly which can sometimes have them falsely identified as another local snake, the Red-Bellied Black Snake.
A close up of the head detail which gives them their namesake common name:
Under some breaking down plant material, we found a Three-toed Skink
A Garden Orb Weaving Spider, with a small specoes of Longicorn Beetle ensnared in the web. Seems there is more invertebrate prey available to fuel lizards, we should head back again during the day to search for large skinks and dragons.
Another invert, a juicy Cicada emerging having drunk sap from the roots of the surrounding trees.
On the walk back, we found evidence of other species in the area, a freshly Dead On Road (DOR) Blackish Blind Snake, Ramphotyphlops nigrescens
Both of snakes these appeared to have been in good condition leading up to their abrupt deaths.
And a long-DOR Red-bellied Black Snake, Pseudechis porphyriacus
A super common species found on the Central Coast. the Striped Marsh Frog,
Limnodynastes peronii, which I helped Veronica Grigaltchik with collecting floating foam egg nests during her field work.
A recording of the males “Tok.. Tok.. Tok”
Adult Striped Marsh Frog
Adult male, calling from damp cover
Floating egg nest in a sheltered, damp position
Getting a closer look, for collection under a scientific permit
A closer look at the developing embryo
Tadpoles free from their eggs
Marsh Frogs like many other species, as tadpoles, are vegetarian, eating the algae filmd which grows on the rocks and walls of their environment, as well as broken down plant material – though, have fed assorted tadpoles dead snails, which are quickly hollowed out from their shells. In captivity, they may be supplemented with fish food, frozen lettuce which has been frozen or boiled to break down the cell structure to help make it more readily torn apart and consumed – served at room temperature in small amounts as to not fowl and corrupt the water.
A developed tadpole
A small metamorph which has mostly resorbed the reserves of energy from the no longer needed tadpole tail
Frogs make up a valuable resource in their environment for other wildlife, including this Red-Bellied Black Snake.
These are one of our most common and smallest local frogs, and may breed in ephemeral soaks, including patches as compact as a tyre depression on a fire trail, which can make for easy observations should you be strolling along a trail at night, though, you may even find them active during the day in a warm sheltered spot – sitting still for a few minutes, they can return to calling and being active.
A male calling from the base of a water plant in a soak
(A recording of their call:
Common Eastern Froglet Call )
Calling from under fallen leaves by the waters edge
Calling from a small soak, note expanded vocal sack
Amplecting with egg deposition, the males “nuptial grip” around her abdomen, applies pressure to assist in the female depositing the eggs.
A closer look at some deposited eggs
Developing into tadpoles inside their eggs – these eggs were deposited in a shallow soak in the middle of a fire trail
Crinia metamorphs that were raised to ID the eggs.. hinting at their variable colours and patterns
Some will go on to mate as adults, others, will be filtered out by predators – like this Black Bellied Marsh Snake, Hemiaspis signata