Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Faster, Higher, Stronger

When Baron Pierre de Coubertin coined the motto for the Olympic movement "Citius, Altius, Fortius" (faster, higher, stronger) I'm sure he could have got the inspiration for the phrase from the flora and fauna in the Riddells Creek area.

Did you know we have many of Australia's, and sometimes the world's, 'biggest', 'fastest', 'tallest' and 'most beautiful' things living right here in the Riddells Creek area?

The fastest moving, reusable part on any plant in the world is thought to be the trigger arm on Stylidium plants (commonly known as Triggerplants). We have three species in this area, including the newly discovered (by RCL) and critically endangered Hairy-leaf Triggerplant (Stylidium armeria subsp. pilosifolium).
I photographed this Reed Bee carrying pollen to the Triggerplant. When the bee lands on the flower, the trigger arm, sitting behind the flower, releases and whacks the bee on the back, picking up the pollen from the bee. The arm then takes 10 minutes of so to reset.

The tallest flowering plant species in the world is the Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus regnans), which can be found just down the road near Cherokee. I was once told that the Musk Daisy-bush was the tallest daisy species but I can't find anything on this subject (do you know?). We certainly have two of the largest daisy species in Australia growing here ... Olearia argophylla (Musk Daisy-Bush)

... and Bedfordia arborescens (Blanket Leaf - photo by RCL member David Francis, via NatureShare) - see also http://natureshare.org.au/observation/3066/

We have what is thought to be the largest mushroom species in Australia (see recent article on that subject), Phlebolopus marginatus

On to birds ... we get the largest owl in Australia (Powerful Owl)

... and the largest bird of prey in Australia, the Wedge-tailed Eagle (photo by RCL member James Booth, via NatureShare)

We have every species of monotreme (egg-laying mammals) that remain in the world, the Platypus and the Echidna.

We also have one of the rarest plants in the world, the Large-flower Geranium (Geranium sp. 1) - it was thought to be extinct for about 100 years until re-discovered in Riddells Creek a few years ago. Now known from only a few small populations.

We also, very occasionally, get what is often referred to as the most beautiful butterfly in the world (one which also has one of the longest migrations), the Monarch or Wanderer Butterfly. Technically not an indigenous butterfly, it has made its own way here from North America. This is the butterfly that is always used in TV adverts (watch out for them). It also has one of the more amazing stories, both in terms of its own migration and the story of where it migrates to, which was only quite recently discovered (the 3D film of the story is now playing at IMAX at the Melbourne Museum - well worth going!) - photo below is by RCL member Julie Macdonald, via NatureShare

I'm sure there are more - so let me know what I've missed.

1 comment:

  1. The musk daisy bush may be the tallest daisy in Australia. However, David Attenborough's recent ABC documentary on the Galapagos Islands showed forests of daisy trees, Scalesia, growing up to 15-20 m tall (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scalesia). If you want to know more about the Galapagos daisy trees, you can download a scientific paper published in Pacific Science from http://naosite.lb.nagasaki-u.ac.jp/dspace/bitstream/10069/6478/3/PcfSci49_17.pdf.