Category Archives: Natural History

Backyard Habitat Ponds 101

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Damien Vella is Senior Horticulturist at the Botanic Gardens and does a great job of sharing natural history moments he encounters throughout his life on his instagram account. He has a particular skill for taking events from the backyard and telling a story that weaves in the underlying ecology in a fascinating way. He also shares one of my deep interests-that is creating habitat in backyards (Even better that it is the aquatic type).

Below is his guest blog discussing backyard habitat ponds… Continue reading

Thinking about sand and the fish (and researchers) that call it home

painted-frogfish

Why would you study pretty fish on coral reefs if you could be trying to find grumpy weirdos like this Painted frogfish (Antennarius pictus)

Maarten De Brauwer is a marine biologist, dive instructor, biology teacher, PhD-candidate at Curtin University in Perth (Western Australia) and studies fish on soft sediments is lucky enough to work on sandy habitats  ;). He also does a really nice job on the science communication front over at Critter Research!  Below is his guest blog with some recent musings…

Thinking about sand and the fish (and researchers) that call it home

When I was asked to write a guest blog I first considered writing about fluorescent frogfish or about how weird fish that live on the sand can send children to school in developing countries. While I might do that another time, instead I decided to start a guest blog for Fish Thinkers by thinking about fish. Maybe because thinking about fish is what I am currently paid to do, though the fact that I’ve gone through 3 gin tonics and a fair amount of wine on a long-haul flight might play a role too. Continue reading

The tale of the much maligned giant Australian water rat.

rakali

CREDITS : © J Gould © Victoria Museum, http://www.museum.vic.gov.au

Recently whilst pottering around in the backyard I saw what I first thought was a ringtail possum in the undergrowth. That was until it scampered across the open yard at a pace a ringtail could only dream of attaining on the ground. It was the biggest rat I had ever seen and it seems to have taken up residence in the ponds (i.e. bathtubs and containers I have set-up for fish and frogs) in my yard.

Since then I have seen it regularly and it doesn’t look like the rats I usually see in the urban environment; it was huge at around 1.5 kg and it also had a fluffy tail tipped with white and a slightly golden underbelly. I’ve seen these guys before when fishing so after the first good look at it I knew it was a native water rat (also known as the rakali). That’s where my knowledge on the species ended. Continue reading