Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Cold-blooded creatures in the cold weather

A Striped Marsh Frog (Limnodynastes peroni) made an appearance in my trailer the other day when Peter was clearing some old sheets of plaster away.
Here it is sitting in some dirt and gravel on the end of the long-handled spade.
We were careful not to touch this little frog, as clearly it was very torpid in the cold weather. We released it straight away (after just three photos), back into the moist shade of some trees, from where it had been disturbed.

Just as well, it seems, as this report says such frogs are very sensitive to UV light, at low temperatures.

Interestingly, this is the second frog from my property to bear the name "peroni". The other is Peron's Tree Frog. Clearly they are both named after one of those remarkable early french Naturalists. Indeed he was just such a person. Peron sailed with Baudin upon "Le Naturaliste". Unfortunately the two men despised eachother. But Peron worked with a colleague, Lesueur, collecting and describing many thousands of specimens, especially marine creatures, but also many frogs - hence the names of both Peron and Lesueur appearing on local frogs.
  • "At the end of the expedition Peron and Lesueur had collected what is considered to be most complete and best documented collection of marine natural history. Over one hundred thousand species of animals had been collected and stored in thirty three large packing cases aboard Le Naturaliste.
  • In 1806 the Emperor Napoleon himself gave permission for Lesueur and Péron to publish their findings in a Journal to be called "Voyage de découvertes aux Terres Australes", written by Péron and illustrated with forty plates by Lesueur. They were issued a pension or salary to support them as they worked on it.
Strangely, the next cold-blooded critter to appear on this cold morning is an Eastern Water Skink, Eulamprus quoyii (image by Waratah Software - Natural Images of Australia).
Skink on Peter's arm.
It was more mobile than the Frog, but it did not scamper away, as Skinks normally do, but climbed slowly up the arm of Peter's jacket. It was crying out to be photographed.
Its warm copper-coloured back shows well here.The spots along the side are uniformly spaced.
I released it under the front deck of the house, where it would get some warming sunshine, but be quite well protected.

Here is another links to a web page about this Skink.

This pair of Lizard Lovers were close to water at Carrington Falls.
Poking their heads out together, just metres from the Falls.
They made a nice image,
but I was not close enough to get diagnostic details, but they may well be Eastern Water Skinks.
Quite what a "water skink" is doing at my place I cannot say, but I have often seen these little guys here. It is "wet' in Robertson much of the time, but we do not have running water around here, just moist tree covered soil.

But they are not my only Skink species. If my identification is not correct, please advise me via the comments page, or by email (see "My Profile" page).

For other cool climate skinks, see the Victorian-based page for Lizards and Skinks from Museum Victoria.


mick said...

Great photos of a couple of beautiful creatures - but the skink is very cute as well! Interesting about the French collectors - today I think most would be more comfortable photographing and recording.

Wilma said...

The frog is a real cutie with that gold strip down the middle. The skink is not bad looking either!

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Mick,
We tend to forget (or not realise) how good those French naturalists were.
I mentioned Peron and Lesueur, but
Labillardiere is probably the most famous. He has many plants named for him, including the blue-berried "Billardaria", and a species of grass (Poa labillardierei).
He also made a huge collection of plants which he took back to France and wrote "Novae Hollandiae Plantarum Specimen", the first general description of the flora of Australia.
These guys literally put Joseph Banks in the shade.
But we hardly know anything about them, except in Tasmania where French place names abound.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Wilma
Glad you liked the Frog.
I have seen it beofre, but never had a chance to get a good shot of it.
Hence my comment about the cold weather we have been having, which has slowed them all down.

ValeriaVine said...

I think I may have a kind skink living at the back step of my albion Park surgery. Couldn't be a water skink as there isn't any running water around but it is of a similar ilk....i'll look more carefully next time.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Valeria Vine,
Skinks are pretty hard to tell apart.
If you can get a photo, it will help.
Happy to try to help with an ID if you get some shots.

Russell Constable said...

Hi Denis
Nice story mate and some pretty neat photos too!That bird feeder is a work of art!
cheers Russ

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Russell
Thanks. The frog was so shiny it was hard to get a good photo, late in the afternoon (needed flash). So lots of reflection.
Lizard was co-operative.
Sad to hear of your on-going worries with road-killed Cassowaries.
Down here it is Wombats, which the locals regard as "vermin". Unbelievable.
As with your big birds, they simply cannot breed up fast enough to replace themselves.