This field of mounds built by magnetic termites in northern Australia has the look and feel of a cemetery, especially in this image taken at dusk. The magnetic termites were given their name based on the belief at the time that that they lined up their mounds according to the earth’s magnetic field. However, it is now understood that these clever termites build the mounds according to the sun’s passage in such a way that the hot rays fall on the knife-like edges of the mound rather than on its broad face. I get a little nervous about termites in general thinking they are going to eat my house! I was relieved to learn that these creatures live on grasses and other vegetation as do many of the other termites in Australia.
The Southern Cassowary is a tall, flightless bird native to the tropical rain forests of New Guinea and northeastern Australia. It is a treasure to see one of these birds in the wild, even though it is smart to keep your distance. Their numbers are rapidly declining due to a variety of factors–loss of habitat due to the development of the rain forests, fatalities after being stuck by automobiles, competition for food with wild boars imported from Europe, and attacks by wild dogs introduced to reduce the boar population.
The koala is the sleepiest animal I have ever seen–except for possibly the sloth. They sleep curled up in a ball in a eucalyptus tree most of the time. But they occasionally begin to yawn and stretch, and then they perk up and look around for a short time. A very short time! This koala had been relocated from its native home in eastern Australia to a national park in western Australian. The koala’s habitat has been encroached upon by development in the eastern areas and it’s existence is threatened, even though it is not officially listed as endangered. There are many Australians who love the koalas and others who are actively working to help them. However, there are a few who think of them similarly to the way some Americans see raccoons, a little pesky and not always nice.
On a beach in eastern Australia, where the rainforest meets the sea, the Sand Bubbler Crab is busy making art! Actually the crab is feeding and the art is a byproduct. At low tide, the small crab comes out of its burrow and scoops up mouthfuls of sand from which it sifts its sustenance. It works quickly a short distance from the burrow spitting out the sifted sand, seemingly unaware that it is making art. Thanks to Jessica at Nature in Focus for identifying this crab and providing so many beautiful photos and educational posts. As for the art, what do you see?
Here is another natural abstract of a hot spring at Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. Temperatures in the springs promote the growth of a variety of heat-loving microbes, which reflect different colors.
At the same park referenced in my previous post, this family was relaxing in a tree, with baby monkey putting his fingers in mommy’s mouth.