Skyrail Nature Diary


Invertebrates in the Treetops

Some types of herbivorous mites are also important for the leaves. Many leaves are covered with communities of moss, lichens and fungi that bind up nutrients, known as epiphylls. Mites feed on these communities and release the locked up nutrients as faeces for re-absorption... read more


The Parasitic Mistletoe

Having semi-succulent leaves, mistletoes are perfectly able to carry out photosynthesis - a process by which plants produce sugars from sunlight and carbon dioxide. Water, minerals and up to 60% of carbohydrates are taken from the host tree, which affects the mistletoe's... read more


The fight for light

A rainforest's canopy is extremely dense, comprising of many different layers. Because of this, plants have adapted intriguing processes in order to reach sunlight for survival. Hemi-epiphytes are a select group of unrelated plants that have developed a unique way of doing... read more


Legless lizards: Snakes of the Wet Tropics

If you are visiting the Wet Tropics, it is common to encounter one or more species of snakes. Though the mention of a snake may make you quiver, these predators play a vital role in assisting with the life cycle in rainforests. Snakes are reptiles and are closely related to... read more


The Art of Disguise - Camouflage in the Rainforest

If an animal is camouflaged in the rainforest, it is at a huge advantage. Because of the high diversity and large number of organisms that live in tropical rainforests, many animals are either hunting or trying not to be hunted. The Southern Cassowarry's (Casuarius... read more


The travelling seed

There are a number of contributing factors to a rainforest's existence. Seed dispersal is one of them. Plants have limited mobility and consequently rely upon a variety of dispersal methods to transport their seeds from one place to another. There are three methods of... read more


Roots of the rainforest

There are a number of unusual types of roots found in the rainforest, many of which have adapted over time to the climate of the rainforest and function using unique processes. Most would be unaware of the importance of the process involved with roots and fungi in the... read more


When the sun goes down....

When travelling on the cableway, it is often very difficult to see animals. The reasons for this is that they may be camouflaged, hidden under the dense rainforest layers or because many of the animals are nocturnal - they come out of hiding at night. Rarely seen during... read more


Moss & Lichen

Crustose lichens are the lichen you see growing flat against trunks and branches. They form, flat, crusty plates that grow slowly outwards, increasing their radius by as little as 0.5mm a year. Foliose lichens often grow near mosses and are leafy in appearance. Finally,... read more


Rainforest Rainbows

In the rainforests, some leaves have evolved 'drip tips', pointed ends that collect the rain and help to channel the water off the leaf, downwards. The rainfall slides between the leaves of the canopy, down the tree trunks, where it can be absorbed directly by the tree... read more


Forest Fungi

Fungi do not flower, they produce spores which are released and dispersed by the wind, rain, animals, or by the fruiting body literally exploding. Most rainforest fungi are highly toxic to humans and should never be eaten, however, they do provide a food source for slugs,... read more


Beans, Plums & Fruits of the Forest

Another understorey plant fruiting at Skyrail this month is the Walking Stick Palm (Linospadix monostachya), at Red Peak Station. These red fruits are edible for humans and are sweet with a peppery aftertaste. The plant's common name comes from its strong, flexible 'cane',... read more