Coleoptera – corpses, crap, and celestial sh!te pushing

Human Skull being cleaned by Dermestid Beetles (Photo: Sklmsta)

It turns out that our irrelevant inordinate friends, the beetles, turn out to be pretty relevant. Here’s why:

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A fondness for beetles (beetles rock!!!!)

Photo: G Dallimore

When I talk to people about my work on beetles (or Coleoptera) there is often a very large elephant beetle in the room. Behind the smiles and genuine wish to appear interested, they actually think I’m a strange nerd who studies an obscure world.  Well, let me explain myself. Read more of this post

It’s got me stumped

Canberra's tallest tree

How much is an old tree worth? Often we only make the effort to appreciate something’s value until it’s threatened or (worse) till it’s gone. Take the case of Canberra’s tallest tree, now Canberra’s tallest stump.

This blog was inspired by Karen’s blog on the value of old trees in Canberra’s urban forest. Her research has shown that big, old trees have considerable biodiversity value. But what does that mean when other values (like public safety) are in conflict? And how does the value for one person compare to the values of other people, and who takes responsibility? All these questions came into sharp focus for me recently when the government cut down our city’s tallest urban tree.

The tallest gum tree in Canberra’s urban forest was a ribbon gum growing in a little park in the suburb of Ainslie, just up the street from where I live. No-one really talked about it, it had always been there. It was so huge (over 40 metres tall) that you kind of didn’t notice it – it was simply part of the landscape. And, because no-one noticed it, no-one asked if it was a good idea that it was growing right next to a community tennis court (and club house). Besides being a wonderful looking gum it also housed a large number of birds including a family of gang gangs and a pair of little hawks.

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