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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Australia Great Barrier Reef Swim

Swimming over the Great Barrier Reef!
 22 nautical miles from Cairns, Queensland,
is Michaelmas Cay.
 North Queensland, Australia.

Yes, we were each wearing a "stinger suit" to protect us from jellyfish as we went snorkeling over the reef.

We used  and   
Seastar Cruises, and they were so great and knowledgeable!  

Thursday, September 18, 2014

See Natural Art on a Tropical Australian Beach

Who is making art on this remote beach at Cape Tribulation?

These dots of sand are reminiscent of Aboriginal dot art, but these artists are crustaceans.

Sand dabbler crabs (Dotilla sp) feed by filtering microscopic organic matter out of the sand. As they feed they roll a scoop of sand into a ball and deposit it outside of their hole.

The arrangement of sand balls, wet and dry, near and far, creates an image that is unique and plastic. What you see, depends on your point of view.

Visit each week to see a new The Earth Minute.

See the monitor lizard just beyond this beach.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Watching Lizards in Southern California

Two species of lizards inhabit our yard. Take a minute to watch them reveal how different they are from each other.


The western fence lizards (Sceloporus occidentalis) are diurnal (active during the day), numerous, and prey on a variety of small insects–including flies and ants. They are highly visual–sitting in prominent locations watching for food or competition and creating visual displays in response to territorial challenges and mate attraction. Males do push-ups to show-off blue-colored chests and extend a flap of skin under the throat called a dewlap. (Watch the subordinate male in the video.) We typically have several batches of youngsters each year.

The southern alligator lizard (Elgaria multicarinata) is more secretive, solitary, and predatory. Notice its short legs, elongated body and long tail. It travels through foliage using a serpentine movement. This lizard will prey on the juvenile fence lizards, as well as snails, slugs, and larger insects. The alligator lizard locates prey and mates using its slightly forked tongue and following scent and pheromone trails. On warm summer nights, they are still out hunting the sleeping juvenile fence lizards.

Take a minute to watch for the wildlife in your backyard and you might discover it's a world of predator and prey.