Coral Trout - Five of the seven species of coral trout occur on the Great Barrier Reef. Coral trout change sex as they grow they start life as females and become males as they get larger. The average length at sex change is 42 cm. Common coral trout can live for about 16 years. As part of their courtship ritual, male coral trout characteristically display darkened edges to their fins, which can be switched on and off almost instantly. Spawning is from September through to January.
Orange-footed Scrubfowl – This bird is one of three megapodes in Australia, this family name refers to the robust feet of the species, this particular species has large orange feet. Its nest is a large incubator mound that generates heat through the decay of moist organic material, typically 2-3 metres tall and up to 15 metres diameter it can weigh over 50 tons. A nest is maintained by a pair throughout the year and may be used for decades. Its calls include gargles and loud double crows, often heard at night around the rainforest, it is more frequent during the nesting season, and mostly a duet between the male and female.
Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher – Shy and often hard to see in the rainforest, despite the bright colours (blue and orange), this bird is often found in pairs. A breeding migrant from New Guinea present in the Daintree area from October – April, the Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher is very popular for birdwatchers to Far North Queensland. When the birds arrive it is at the same time, usually at night.
Sea Turtles – In October sea turtles mate in the calm, protected reef waters. The most common encounter is between November and February, when adult female turtles come out of the water to nest on land.
Dugong – Otherwise known as Sea Cows because they graze on sea grass. During October the Male bulls will appear in the shallows of Weary Bay for food on route to the breeding areas further north. Female Dugongs give birth underwater to a single calf at three to seven year intervals. The calf stays with its mother, drinking milk from her teats and following close by until one or two years of age. Dugongs reach adult size between 9 and 17 years of age.
Manta Rays – During this month Mantas can be seen in the shallows of Weary Bay. Manta Rays frequently visit cleaning stations where small fish such as wrasse, remora, and angelfish swim in the Manta's gills and over its skin to feed, in the process cleaning it of parasites and dead tissue.
Coral spawning - The simultaneous mass spawning of corals on the Great Barrier Reef was first scientifically observed in 1981. While it cannot be totally predicted, the coral spawn at night between November and December each year. The process begins 6 months before when eggs and sperm begin to form inside the coral polyps. Water temperatures must be 27°C or more, on cue they release eggs and sperm into the water at exactly the same time, the cue is the November full moon and on the 2nd to 6th night following the full moon the majority of corals spawn.
Saltwater Crocodile - Breeding and raising of young saltwater crocodiles happens in freshwater areas. Between November and March the female lays 40 - 60 eggs in a nest made from plant matter and mud on a river bank. The location of the Australian crocodile nests is sometimes used as an indication of how much rain can be expected during the upcoming wet season, a good indication of the breeding season is seen when the males begin puffing up their bodies.
Red Kapok Tree– This spectacular tree flowers in November, the large, lobed leaves drop and in their place masses of red lily-like flowers appear. The woody fruits produced by this tree contain silky floss used in pillows.
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