Australian Journal of Zoology
Number 4 2016
Fergusoninidae is a family of mainly Australasian gall-forming flies that has a unique mutualism with a nematode. The larvae of these flies bear an unusual, sclerotised structure known as a ‘dorsal shield’. We constructed a phylogenetic tree and examined larval and gall morphology to investigate the shield‘s function.
Photo by Michaela Purcell.
We examined diet composition and prey selection of two sympatric carnivorous marsupials, including the endangered Antechinus arktos (pictured). Both species were dietary generalists, although composition of invertebrates consumed differed between species and years of study. Such flexibility may be advantageous in Gondwanan rainforest subject to continued disturbance by climate change.
Photo by Gary Cranitch.
Spawning of nurseryfish in the Adelaide River occurred from June to January as indicated by the presence of larvae in icthyoplankton nets. The development of the unusual rib anatomy was examined with 3D micro-computerised tomography scans. The bony protection of the swim bladder formed by the ribs is complete by 19 mm standard length.
Photo by Michael Hammer.
Marsupials and monotremes can be considered independent experiments in mammalian evolution. The discovery of the human male-determining gene SRY, how it works, how it evolved and defined our sex chromosomes, well illustrates how comparing these distantly related animals can help us understand fundamental aspects of mammalian biology.
Muscle fibre typing was conducted on the triceps, vasti and gastrocnemius muscles in the quokka (Setonix brachyurus) and the results compared with previous studies on the jerboa (a hopping eutherian) and the macaque (a quadruped) using similar methods. The results are discussed in terms of locomotor adaptations.
Populations of the freshwater fish species, dwarf galaxias (Galaxiella pusilla) and little galaxias (Galaxiella toourtkoourt), have been occasionally found with enlarged heads associated with the accumulation of white cysts. In this study, histopathology and molecular techniques identified these cysts as metacercariae of Apatemon gracilis (Rudolphi, 1819), a cosmopolitan digenean trematode.
Photo by Rhys Coleman.
We compared the composition and abundance of small vertebrates between riparian, midslope and ridge habitats in a eucalypt forest in south-western Australia. The floristically rich and structurally diverse midslope and ridge habitats were favoured by mammal and reptile species. Protection of all three habitats would be necessary for biodiversity conservation.