All the native animals living in our red gum trees

By Natsumi Penberthy 8 September 2017
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Each mature river red gum tree supports a complex community of native animals.

1. Musk lorikeets

Glossopsitta concinna

Collecting pollen and nectar from red gum flowers using their specialised brush-tipped tongues, these lorikeets also eat seeds, fruits and insects. 

Musk lorikeet

(Image Credit: JJ Harrison)

2. Brown thornbills 

Acanthiza pusilla

These small birds, 9-10cm in length, eat insects, particularly psyllids (see leaf close-up).

brown thornbills

(Image Credit: Glen Fergus)

3. Superb parrots

Polytelis swainsonii

Vulnerable nationally — just a few thousand remain.

superb parrots

(Image Credit: Ron Knight)

4. Squirrel gliders

Petaurus norfolcensis

These marsupials feed on sap that drips from notches they nibble into the bark of gum trees.

squirrel gliders

(Image Credit: Brsibane City Council)

5. Red gum lerp psyllids

Glycaspis brimblecombei

These small sap-sucking insects create white conical shelters of wax and sugar called ‘lerps’ in their juvenile stages. These covers help conceal the psyllids while they feed on leaves.

Red gum lerp psyllids

(Image Credit: Scot Nelson)

6. Gumleaf skeletoniser caterpillars

Uraba lugens

They voraciously consume fresh green red gum foliage, leaving a lacy lattice of oil cells and veins; they can strip whole stands in summer and spring.

gumleaf skeletoniser caterpillars

(Image Credit: John Tann)

7. Green grocer cicadas

Cyclochila australasiae

Juvenile nymphs live in the soil for up to seven years, sucking sap from tree roots. They emerge as adults in spring, lay eggs in dead or dying branches and then die themselves within six weeks.

green grocer cicadas

(Image Credit: Wikimedia)

8. Lesser long-eared bats

Nyctophilus geoffroyi

Nocturnal dwellers of cracks and hollow limbs.

lesser long-eared bats

(Image Credit: Wikimedia)

9. Bardi grubs

Trictena atripalpis

These live in tunnels below ground, feeding on tree roots. They emerge as adult moths to lay up to 45,000 eggs on a tree, more than any other non-social insect.

bardi grubs

(Image Credit: Don Herbison-Evans)

10. Azure kingfishers

Alcedo azurea

These pretty birds dig nests around red gum roots.

azure kingfishers

(Image Credit: John Hill)

11. Murray cod

Maccullochella peelii

Our largest freshwater fish, they are endangered nationally. Most are found within lm of a gum snag.

Image alt text

(Image Credit: Murray cod)