By Paul Oliver At first sight a Spiny Knob-tailed Gecko looks more like a Pokemon character than a lizard! Not only do they have perhaps the smallest tail of any lizard, but they also have strange enlarged knob of unknown purpose at their tail tip. Furthermore, their tail is so attenuated that they are one of the few geckos that have also lost the ability … Continue reading Understanding the diversity of some of Queensland’s oddest lizards
By Paul Oliver, Janne Torkolla, Jessica Worthington-Wilmer and Patrick Couper In the mist-shrouded mountains of Queensland’s Wet Tropics there lives a secretive and very sensitive little lizard. This species main claim to fame is that unlike your typical reptile, it is apparently intolerant of even modest temperatures. In the “bible” of Australian lizard ecology the lizard researcher Allen Greer reports that “it will perish, presumably … Continue reading A new lizard genus from the mountains of North Queensland
By Patrick Couper, Senior Curator Vertebrates, Queensland Museum The biological specimens in museum collections need constant monitoring to ensure their long-term preservation. Initially they are treated in a manner that prevents decay. For wet vertebrate collections (whole specimens stored in jars or vats of alcohol), an animal’s organs, muscles and other tissues are fixed, usually with formalin. This results in the formation of covalent bonds … Continue reading Mistakes can happen
Move over Freddo, there is a new chocolate frog in town… meet Litoria mira, a new frog species that has been recently described by Queensland Museum scientists. Compared to other tree frogs, known for their green skin, Litoria mira is brown and was given the nickname chocolate frog because of its colouring. Lead author, Dr Paul Oliver who is a joint appointment with Queensland Museum … Continue reading Sweet new discovery – a new species of chocolate frog
By Paul Oliver and Jessica Worthington Wilmer. This is a story about the about how the genes of obscure and rare animals can speak the history of our diverse landscapes. The stars of the story are two species of very odd-looking geckos. We typically think of geckos as big-eyed, soft-bodied lizards that run around on walls at night. But geckos are in fact a diverse … Continue reading Do you DIG legless lizards?
Slithering serpents! Did you know that Australia is home to around 10 percent of the world’s reptile species – the largest number of any country? Queensland Museum herpetologists Patrick Couper and Dr Andrew Amey recently contributed to the first comprehensive study on snakes and lizards which found 11 species are likely to become extinct by 2040 including the McIlwraith Leaf-tailed Gecko, Orraya occultus, Cape Melville … Continue reading New Research: Reptiles on the brink
To celebrate World Lizard Day on the 14 August and National Science Week, our #CouchCurator and Senior Curator of Reptiles, Patrick Couper is shining the spotlight on one species of Skink – Nangur Skink (Nangura spinosa). The Nangur Skink was discovered in 1992 when a single specimen was dug from a dry creek bed in Nangur State Forest. The discovery was made by staff from … Continue reading Spotlight on Nangur Skink (Nangura spinosa)|World Lizard Day
by Dr Paul Oliver, Queensland Museum and Griffith University Describing new species is bread and butter work for the scientists at Queensland Museum. Across our campuses we have experts in groups ranging from corals to spiders to snails. And over the 158-year history of the museum our scientist have described over 5000 new species. This work underpins our understanding of biodiversity. Field guides, conservation planning, … Continue reading What does it take to take to describe a new species?
By Rochelle Lawrence, Palaeontological Research Assistant, and Scott Hocknull, Senior Curator, Geosciences, Queensland Museum In 2008, an extraordinary discovery was made at South Walker Creek, located near the town of Nebo, west of Mackay in Queensland, Australia. Traditional owners of the area, the Barada Barna people, were conducting a cultural heritage survey for the South Walker Creek Mine when they came across some interesting bones. … Continue reading A Crime scene of the past – investigating tropical ice age megafauna
By Rochelle Lawrence, Palaeontological Research Assistant, and Scott Hocknull, Senior Curator, Geosciences, Queensland Museum. Megafauna are giant animals usually weighing over 44 kilograms (kg). Most megafauna are now extinct (no longer exist) and were closely related to living species of animals we see today. You have probably heard of the more commonly known megafauna species, like the saber-toothed cat and woolly mammoth from North America. … Continue reading What are megafauna?
Steve from Queensland Museum’s Discovery Centre has been documenting the wildlife he finds around his home and garden during isolation. Here he shares the types of geckos he can find around his home and gives some tips for how you can spot them around your own home. We are all spending plenty of time at home at the moment, so it seems like a perfect … Continue reading What species of Geckos can you find around your home?
World Turtle Day is #Shellebrated globally on 23 May, to celebrate these incredible creatures, increase knowledge, raise awareness of the impact of plastic pollution, and to highlight the importance of protecting their disappearing habitats. Did you know six of the world’s seven marine turtle species are known from Queensland? You can read more on sea turtles here. The Impact of Plastic Pollution Every bit of … Continue reading World Turtle Day
World Wildlife Day, held annually on 3 March, was created to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants. The day has now become the most important global annual event dedicated to wildlife. This year’s theme is “Life below water: for people and planet”. Oceans harbour a rich variety of communities and a wealth of strange and beautiful creatures, each with its … Continue reading Sharing nature’s gems for World Wildlife Day
We celebrate the achievements of women, known and unknown, remembered and forgotten, who have forged the way for those of us in science today, and to give an opportunity for children: girls and boys, to choose role models in science – Princess Nisreen El-Hashemite, BSc MSc MD PhD This coming 11 February is International Day of Women and Girls in Science and to celebrate we’re … Continue reading Celebrating women in science
Kronosaurus queenslandicus was the largest predatory reptile to swim the seas of western Queensland 105 million years ago. This icon of the paleontological world is thought to have grown up to 11 metres in length, with around two metres of that dedicated to its unusually large skull, containing a mammoth set of jaws and dozens of enormous teeth. Recently, an opportunity arose for the Queensland … Continue reading Reconstructing the Kronosaurus
Never fear, they’re all still here and safely tucked away behind the scenes throughout the Discovery Centre’s renovation. Our staff continue to bring in the tasty eats they like best – bundles of fresh gum leaves for our stick insects, dried leaves for the giant cockroaches and even frozen rats for our green tree pythons. The baby scorpions, born in the museum, are thriving on … Continue reading Been missing our Discovery Centre critters?
Written by: Maryanne Venables, Strategic Learning The “Zoo Animals” went into the tin with the blue lid, while my “Farm Animals” went in the tin with the green lid. The animal kingdom, as I knew it, lived under my bed in Streets ice-cream tins. All were classified, according to contexts developed from the songs, books and experiences of a four-year old. Fast forward to 2012 and, … Continue reading It’s Taxon Time
Humans are fascinated by extremes; just consider the popularity of the Guinness Book of Records. It’s also reflected by our fascination with huge dinosaurs; think Tyrannosaurus rex and Brachiosaurus. So it is not surprising that claims that ‘giant predatory lizards 11m long once roamed Ancient Australia’ would garner attention and intrigue. In fact the lizard was appropriately given the scientific name, Megalania, meaning ‘giant ripper’. … Continue reading Does size matter? Misidentification of, and assumptions about, the world’s largest lizard
Patrick Couper is Curator of Reptiles and Amphibians at Queensland Museum and has an active interest in the taxonomy, ecology and conservation of Queensland’s diverse reptile fauna. A major focus of Patrick’s research has been the discovery and description of leaf-tailed geckos that live in the rainforests of eastern Australia. Leaf-tails, which have a long rainforest ancestry, often have strong associations with rocky outcrops. Rocky … Continue reading Rock Refugia
Atlas of Living Australia Live At Last! The Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) was launched in Brisbane on the 20th May. At a special ceremony held at Queensland Museum (QM), Dr John Hooper (Head of Biodiversity and Geosciences at Queensland Museum) spoke about the collaboration of museums, herbaria, universities and other government collections in producing the ALA. The ALA is an online encyclopaedia of all living … Continue reading A LA LA! – Atlas of Living Australia Live At Last