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NT Naturalist - Number 26, Published June 2015

ISSN: 0155-4093

Editor: Richard Willan

Pre-release Articles

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1. 'Poor man's tucker' - historic and contemporary consumption of longbum shellfish around Darwin

AuthorsBourke, Patricia;
AbstractThis paper describes archaeological and ethnographic observations of the remains - scatters of shells of mostly 'Telescopium telescopium' plus several 'Terebralia' species - of historic and contemporary consumption of longbum shellfish (Mollusca: Potamididae) by Aboriginal people around Darwin.
TagsPotamididae; Ethnology--Fieldwork; Historic sites--Conservation and restoration; Terebralia; Shellfish; Aboriginal Australians Food;

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2. A recently formed Crested Tern ('Thalasseus bergii') colony on a sandbank in Fog Bay (Northern Territory), and associated predation

AuthorsGiuliano, Christine and Guinea, Michael L.
AbstractA Crested Tern colony founded on a sandbank in northern Fog Bay (Northern Territory) failed in 1996 presumably due to inexperienced nesters. Attempts to breed in the years following were equally unsuccessful until 2012 when the colony was established. In 2014, the rookery comprised at least 1500 adults plus numerous chicks. With the success and growth of the colony, the predators, White-bellied Sea Eagles and Silver Gulls, were quick to capitalise on the new prey. Changes in the species diversity and numbers of the avifauna highlight the dynamic and fragile nature of life on the sandbanks of Fog Bay.
Afilliation(1) Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT 0909, 60 Station St, Sunbury, VIC 3429, Australia (2) Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT 0909, Australia
TagsBirds--Behavior; Birds--Identification; Birds--Type specimens; Birds--Breeding; Birds--Ecology;

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3. The yellow-lipped sea krait ('Laticauda colubrina') in the Northern Territory

AuthorsChatto, Ray; Guinea, Michael L; Choy, Daniel Low; Mangion, Phil;
AbstractThe first authenticated record of the Yellow-lipped Sea Krait ('Laticauda colubrina') in the Northern Territory resulted from a request to remove a snake from the grounds of the Sky City Casino, on the eastern shores of Darwin Harbour, in October 2014. The colouration of the snake, a female, closely resembled museum specimens from Indonesia. Speculation on its presence in Darwin Harbour include being a ship's stowaway, swimming from nearby Indonesian islands, or a member of an, as yet, unauthenticated Northern Territory population from the islands of Arnhem Land. The sea krait was released alive in the mangrove habitat at East Point Reserve. FULL TEXT PDF (BUY NOW - AU$4.00 (381KB))
Afilliation(1) Wildlife Operations, Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife Commission, PO Box 496, Palmerston, NT 0832, Australia (2) Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT 0909, Australia, email: mick.guinea@cdu.edu.au (3) Marine Biodiversity Unit, Department of Land Resource Management, Northern Territory Government, PO Box 496, Palmerston, NT 0832, Australia
TagsSea kraits; Snakes--Collection and preservation; Reptiles--Type specimens; Snakes--Geographical distribution;

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4. Occurrence of a Sharksucker ('Echeneis naucrates') on a Northern River Shark ('Glyphis garricki') in a tidal riverine habitat

AuthorsKyne, Peter M;
AbstractRemoras (family Echeneidae) are teleost fishes adapted to hitchhiking behaviour on a variety of marine taxa. Three species have been documented in the waters of the Northern Territory, including the Sharksucker ('Echeneis naucrates'). Sharks are a preferred host for adult 'E. naucrates'. An additional host species, the Northern River Shark ('Glyphis garricki'), is reported here. A small (178 mm total length) 'E. naucrates' was found attached to a 'G. garricki' in tidal reaches of the West Alligator River in Kakadu National Park in October 2014. This is the first report of an echeneid fish on a shark of the genus 'Glyphis' ('river sharks').
Afilliation(1) Research Institute for Environment and Livelihoods, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT 0909, Australia, email: peter.kyne@cdu.edu.au
TagsFishes--Type specimens; Fishes--Classification; Osteichthyes;

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5. First record of Aitengidae (Mollusca: Panpulmonata: Acochlidia) for Australia

AuthorsNeusser, Timea P; Bourke, Adam J; Metcalfe, Kristin; Willan, Richard C;
AbstractCurrently there are only two species of the highly enigmatic family of microscopic 'sea slugs' Aitengidae (Mollusca: Gastropoda, Panpulmonata: Acochlidia) known worldwide: the mangrove-dwelling 'Aiteng ater' Swennen and Buatip, 2009 from Thailand and 'Aiteng mysticus' Neusser et al., 2011 from the upper intertidal of coastal caves in Japan. Here we report the discovery of another species of Aitengidae found in a mangrove forest in Darwin Harbour, Northern Territory, Australia. This is the first record of the Aitengidae, and the Acochlidia (caddis slugs) in general, for Australia so it represents a very significant finding. In Darwin Harbour the 'Aiteng' specimens are diurnal and inhabit areas of the mangrove forest influenced by freshwater. Externally, these Australian specimens differ from the other described species by the presence of a pair of short, but clearly discernible, cephalic tentacles. The first molecular analyses on cytochrome oxidase (COI) sequences show considerable differences to other known Aitengidae. An integrative approach including molecular multimarker analyses and detailed microanatomical and histological investigations needs to be undertaken to reveal the relationships within the Aitengidae.
Afilliation(1) Ludwig-Maximilian-Universitat, BioCenter, Department Biology II, 82152 Planegg-Martinsried, Germany, email: neusser@bio.lmu.de (2) EcoScience NT, 29 Ostermann Street, Coconut Grove, NT 0810, Australia (3) EcoScience NT, 29 Ostermann Street, Coconut Grove, NT 0810, Australia (4) Museum and Art Gallery, Northern Territory, GPO Box 4646, Darwin, NT 0801, Australia
TagsMollusks; Marine animals -- Ecology; Marine animals--Collection and preservation; Gastropoda;

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6. Aspects of breeding ecology of the Brown Goshawk ('Accipiter fasciatus') in an urban environment in northern Australia

AuthorsRiddell, William E;
AbstractThe breeding parameters of the Brown Goshawk ('Accipiter fasciatus') have yet to be documented in an urban environment in Australia. Twenty-six active nests were located in urban Darwin during the 2013-2014 breeding season. Incubation occurred from August to November over a 12 week laying period. Twenty-two nests were in introduced African Mahogany trees ('Khaya senegalensis') and four were in River Red Gums ('Eucalyptus camaldulensis'). One or more young matured to fledgling stage or later at 17 of the 26 nests, with an average fledging rate of 1.13 young per nest. Assuming that all active nests were detected, the breeding density of Brown Goshawks across the study area is 52 nests per 100 km2, which is higher than that recorded in previous studies on the species.
TagsGoshawk--Habitat; Birds of prey--Geographical distribution; Birds--Identification; Birds--Type specimens; Birds--Breeding; Goshawk--Nests;

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7. Helminth parasites of the introduced Asian House Gecko ('Hemidactylus frenatus') (Gekkonidae), in the Northern Territory, Australia

AuthorsBarton, Diane P;
AbstractThis is the first report of helminths (i.e. gastrointestinal parasitic 'worms') infecting the invasive Asian House Gecko ('Hemidactylus frenatus') in Australia. Baseline infection data are presented, but the need for more research, especially on sympatric native gekkonid species, to determine whether any of the helminths are capable of being transferred to native lizards, is highlighted. Geckos were collected from areas of mainland Northern Territory and associated offshore islands, as well as Christmas and Cocos Islands. A total of six helminth species were found: 'Paradistomum' sp. (Platyhelminthes: Digenea: Dicrocoeliidae); 'Oochoristica' sp. (Platyhelminthes: Cestoda: Listowiidae); 'Spauligodon hemidactylus' (Nematoda: Pharyngodonidae); 'Maxvachonia' sp. (Nematoda: Cosmocercidae); a larval nematode; and an adult acanthocephalan. 'Spauligodon hemidactylus', which is reported here from Australia for the first time, was the most commonly detected species, being found in 24% of geckos. A table listing the helminth records for 'Hemidactylus frenatus' in the Australasian, Asian and Pacific regions is provided.
Afilliation(1) School of Tropical Biology, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD 4811, Natural Sciences, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, GPO Box 4646, Darwin, NT 0801, Australia, email: di.barton@nt.gov.au
TagsHemidactylus; Helminths; Reptiles--Type specimens; Reptiles--Geographical distribution; Geckos--Classification;

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8. A gutless wonder: First record of the remarkable acoel flatworm 'Wulguru cuspidata' in the Northern Territory

AuthorsWillan, Richard C; Hoskins, Megan; Wright, Neil R; Brown, Graham R;
AbstractAbstract: This paper records the microscopic acoel flatworm 'Wulguru cuspidata' from the Northern Territory, in fact from the northern coastline of Australia, for the first time. Whilst being restricted to a narrow belt in the intertidal zone on sandy beaches fronting the ocean, this acoel can attain remarkably high densities. Despite the stressors it must experience in this habitat - of great fluctuations of temperature and salinity, and of toxic algal and bacterial blooms - it is present year round. Its behaviour, which is typical of acoels of the family Convolutidae, of moving to the surface of the substrate at low tide apparently to recharge its 'solar batteries' (i.e. provide light for its symbiotic microalgae) and of burying into the substrate at high tide, is described. Whilst this behaviour appears to be a response to a combination of tidal and daylight cycles, the biological clock causing it must be very complicated.
Afilliation(1) Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, GPO Box 4646, Darwin, NT 0801, Australia, email: richard.willan@nt.gov.au (2) Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, GPO Box 4646, Darwin, NT 0801, Australia (3) Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, GPO Box 4646, Darwin, NT 0801, and Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT 0909, Australia
TagsAcoela; Worms--Anatomy; Microalgae;

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9. New distribution records for some butterflies from the Gulf of Carpentaria, northern Queensland

AuthorsBraby, Michael F;
AbstractThe geographical distribution of the butterflies of the Gulf of Carpentaria, especially the southern section, is poorly known. In this note, new distribution records are provided for the Caper Gull ('Cepora perimale'), Eichhorn's Crow ('Euploea alcathoe eichhorni'), Chocolate Argus (Junonia hedonia), Moth Butterfly ('Liphyra brassolis'), Black-spotted Flash ('Hypolycaena phorbas'), Dark Ciliate-blue ('Anthene seltuttus') and Samphire Blue ('Theclinesthes sulpitius') from the Karumba-Normanton district in the southern Gulf of Carpentaria. In most cases these records bridge the apparent substantial gaps in geographical range between the 'Top End' of the Northern Territory and Cape York Peninsula of northern Queensland. Given that our knowledge of the Gulf Country is still relatively incomplete and the region is a frontier for field biology and biogeographical research, a basic inventory of butterflies and other insects of the region should be a high priority.
Afilliation(1) Research School of Biology, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia, email: michael.braby@anu.edu.au
TagsButterflies--Geographical distribution; Butterflies--Habitat; Insects--Identification; Insects--Breeding;

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10. New distribution records of the Star Fruit Flower Moth ('Diacrotricha fasciola') (Lepidoptera: Pterophoridae) in Australia and Timor-Leste

AuthorsAnderson, Stacey J; Bellis, Glenn A; Thistleton, Brian M; Tran-Nguyen, Lucy T; Edwards, Ted. D; Hobern, Donald; Quintao, Valente; Halling, Luke; Walker, James A;
AbstractSpecimens collected in northern Australia since 2012 confirm an earlier record of Star Fruit Flower Moth ('Diacrotricha fasciola') (family Pterophoridae) in northern Queensland and expand its known distribution to include the Northern Territory and Timor-Leste. This moth is specific to, and a serious pest of, two 'Averrhoa' species (Oxalidaceae) in South East Asia.
Afilliation(1) Australian Government Department of Agriculture, PO Box 37846, Winnellie, NT 0812, Australia, email: stacey.anderson@agriculture.gov.au (2) Australian Government Department of Agriculture, PO Box 37846, Winnellie, NT 0812, Australia (3) Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries, GPO Box 3000, Darwin, NT 0801, Australia (4) Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries, GPO Box 3000, Darwin, NT 0801, Australia (5) Fellow, CSIRO, National Research Collections Australia, GPO Box 1700, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia (6) Global Biodiversity Information Facility, Universitetsparken 15, Copenhagen, Denmark (7) Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Comoro, Dili, Timor-Leste (8) Australian Government Department of Agriculture, PO Box 350, Broome, WA 6725, Australia (9) Australian Government Department of Agriculture, PO Box 96, Cairns International Airport, QLD 4870, Australia
TagsLepidoptera--Classification; Moths--Classification; Pterophoridae; Moths--Geographical distribution; Moths--Ecology;

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11. Contents page

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12. Editorial

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