Friday, November 18, 2011

Global Media - Local Action

Orange Roughy Hoplostethus atlanticus. A fascinating deep sea species that may live for over 150 years but has had its stocks severely depleted by over-fishing. This is a museum specimen. Picture by Peter Halasz, wikicommons.
Who would have thought that a deep sea fish living around sea mounts in the frigid Southern Ocean off Tasmania might owe a small part of its continued survival to a few knowledgeable, concerned, and connected folks in our desert town? A great example of local community consciousness-raising using global media has just come to a very satisfying conclusion.

Local marine biologist Matt Le Feuvre and Red Centre wildlife polymath Mark Carter, simultaneously posted their dismay on Facebook, at Alice Springs bar/lounge Monte's having the endangered Orange Roughy on their menu. To learn more about Orange Roughy have a look at the Australian Marine Conservation Society page here. The short version of the story is; if you see Orange Roughy for sale anywhere please don't buy it.

After less than 24 hours of  (polite) messages of disapproval in support of the original posts, the proprietors of Monte's Lounge promptly committed to removing the fish from the menu. Matt has offered his expertise to help them find a more sustainable replacement for the Orange Roughy so that fish and chips can still be a popular order at the bar for many years to come.

Congratulations to all concerned for bringing this to such a positive and happy conclusion. Well done!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Nominate Significant Trees Online

Online nomination is now available for the NT Register of Significant Trees. You will find the online form at the link on the right of the page. None of the fields on the form are compulsory but please provide as much and as detailed information as you can; this will help to make the register a more complete and interesting historical document.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Wasp vs Spider - a backyard drama in miniature

The adversaries square off...
 Local biologist Holger Woyt photographed a great spectacle in his yard this week. Spider Wasps, family Pompilidae, are common enough around town but it is unusual to witness the full sequence of their hunting behaviour. In the picture above the wasp (on the right) is facing off against a wolf spider Lycosa sp. In these interactions the wasp is attempting to make a meal of the spider. If successful, the wasp's sting will paralyze the spider. Following paralysis, the wasp will either consume the prey or drag it off to a burrow. Here, the wasp will lay an egg in the abdomen of the paralyzed but still living spider. When the larva hatches the spider will then become sustenance for the infant wasp.
The wasp pounces and administers the paralyzing sting...

The immobilised spider is dragged off... 

The now thoroughly paralyzed spider is momentarily left to await its fate. The wasp returned shortly after this picture was taken to drag the spider to some cover beneath the leaf litter.