Jungle creatures of New Guinea

This post contains pictures of some of the other animals I came across while doing fieldwork in New Guinea. These include amphibians, spiders, insects, lizards, snakes and some marine creatures. I have tried to identify most of what I saw, although many remain a mystery to me. If anyone as any suggestions to what some of my unidentified creatures are, I would be very interested to hear your thoughts.

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Possible ground frog (Platymantis sp.)

This Australian green tree frog (Litoria caerulea) hopped on to our balcony one night for a visit.

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Spiders are generally known as ‘laba-laba’ in Indonesian. This is a type of Huntsman spider (Heteropoda sp.) that was finding sanctuary on this island in the middle of a puddle.

Possible ?long jawed orb spider (?Leucauge sp.)

Tent web spider (Cyrtophora moluccensis)

Spiny orb-web spider (Gasteracantha fornicata)

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Not sure but quite happy on this leaf

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This Huntsman spider (Heteropoda venatoria) was looming over me in one bathroom (‘Mandi’) I visited.

These large Golden orb-web spiders (Nephilia pilipes) are very common in the jungle. They spin large webs particularly from one side of a road or river to another to catch any insects that use them as a highway.

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Green jumping spider, a member of the Salticidae

Cross spiders (Argiope spp.) creating a stabilimentum

By far the worst animal in the jungle is the ant, known locally as ‘semoot’. These critters bite when threatened, particularly when they crawl into your shirt or trousers and find themselves pressed against your arms, legs or chest.  In some of these pictures an army of ants is carrying the head of a crab along a rock.

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Cicada

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Beautiful red dragonfly

This rather curious praying mantis (Hierodula sp. or Rhombodera sp.) took a liking to my camera

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A giant stick insect looking like a stick

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Giant cricket, or ‘jengkerik’.

Not sure what these two species of butterflies are, any ideas welcomed!

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Giant Hercules moth (Coscinocera hercules), see pencil for scale, the wingspan was easily 25cm across.

Crabs

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These playful spinner dolphins (Stenella longirostris) frequently followed our boat

Marine gastropod

Pacific nautilus

Carnivorous pitcher plants, animals that are attracted to their nectar crawl into their funnels and get trapped in a pool of powerful enzymes at the base before being digested by the plant.

Papuan mulch skink (Glaphyromorphus crassicaudus)

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Emerald tree skink (Lamprolepis smaragdina)

New Guinea Blue-tailed Emo Skink (Emoia caeruleocauda)

Not sure what this is although it is known locally as a ‘Goural’, possibly a ?Littoral whiptail skink (?Emoia atrocostata)

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Definitely a Littoral whiptail skink (Emoia atrocostata)

Crocodile or Papuan monitor (Varanus salvadorii) known locally as ‘Biawek’. Endemic to New Guinea and often found climbing trees or on rock faces.

Biawek tracks

Snakes are common in New Guinea although you have to be incredibly lucky to see one in the wild as they tend to avoid humans. Unfortunately most of the snakes I saw were in captivity like this Boelen’s python (Morelia boelen) which was shedding its skin, apparent from the appearance of a glazed eye.

New Guinea small-eyed snake (Micropechis ikaheka) or ‘Ular putih’ the ‘White snake’. This snake is very dangerous with powerful venom and is often found in Palm Oil plantations.  These images are taken from web (Credit: Paul Freed and Scott Frazier) as the only one I saw was roadkill and I don’t like taking pictures of dead animals.

Strikingly-coloured juvenile and adult Yapen Green Tree Boa (Morelia viridis) or ‘Ular ijo’ the ‘Green snake’

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