As my summer of data collection continues, I am making my way through Australia thanks to the support of an NSF East Asia Pacific Summer Institutes fellowship. My first stop was in Canberra to meet with the Australian Academy of Science staff and learn a bit about Australian and Aboriginal culture. Canberra is spectacular– on my very first day I saw mobs of kangaroos, two emus, a bunch of swamp wallabies, and so, so many parrots!
Unfortunately I did not have time to check out the Australian National Insect Collection, as I had to catch a flight to Cairns, QLD to meet with Orthopterist David Rentz.
I will spend the next two weeks conducting field work in Daintree Rainforest, on the hunt for Iridopterygidae. My first few days in the field have seen perfect weather, interesting birds, and lots of insects. The mountain photographed below (left) is called Mt. Sorrow– but it inspired anything but. Such a beautiful view! And the little mantis pictured below (right) was the first iridop (Kongobatha, nymph) collected on the trip.
While the views along the coast of the Daintree Rainforest are breathtaking, getting in the ocean is essentially prohibited. Crocodiles and jellies keep almost everyone off of these pristine beaches. More soon!