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Australia Decoded
'B-8'


Blue Devil Fish

Blue Devil Fish (Paraplesiops bleekeri)



blue—1. a quarrel or fight. 2. a mistake, blunder or error. 3. depressed in spirit; melancholy; sad. 4. pertaining to obscenity or indecency. 5. (cap.) nickname for a redhead.

blue babe-in-the-cradle orchidEpiblema grandiflorum var. cynaeum ms; within the genus Epiblema, there is only one species, containing two varieties—this and the more common babe-in-the-cradle orchid. The only difference between the two varieties is that E. grandiflorum var. cynaeum ms has pale blue flowers instead of purple to mauve flowers. Epiblema grandiflorum var. cyaneum ms flowers in late November to January. There are no known collections of E. grandiflorum var. cyaneum ms at the WA Herbarium, and a full taxonomic description has not been written for this taxon. The specific habitat requirements of Epiblema grandiflorum var. cyaneum ms are not well studied, but are believed to be similar to those of the more common variety Epiblema grandiflorum var. grandiflorum. The blue babe-in-the-cradle orchid is apparently confined to a single swamp in the Perth metropolitan area and is known from only one population. The plants grow amongst dense sedges and false baeckea under moonah and freshwater swamp paperbark bordering a winter-wet swamp. They usually grow in shallow water and flower as the water level begins to drop. Epiblema grandiflorum var. cyaneum ms appears to require a water depth of 10-20cm during spring to initiate flowering, followed by drying out during summer. The water level is determined by groundwater, surface water inflow from another nearby wetland and a main drain and from surface outflows to the same main drain.

blue devil fishParaplesiops bleekeri, a spectacular reef fish. Inhabiting exposed reefs from 3-30m deep, it seeks out dark caves covered in sponges and invertebrates, usually venturing out only at night to feed. The male determines and defends his own territory in a protected area, in order to attract a mate. They mate in spring, afterward gluing the eggs to the roof of the cave and watching over them until they hatch. Blue devil fish are easily identified by the blue and white-banded body with yellow pectoral fins. The pelvic, posterior dorsal and anal fins are all elongated. When it spreads these fins they overlap, causing the fish look bigger than it really is. They vary in length, growing to a maximum of 40cm. The blue devil fish habitat extends from Montague Island off NSW to Queensland's Gold Coast.

blue duck—venture that has failed; a flop.

blue flyer—the female red kangaroo, so-called for two characteristics: the female, being smaller and lighter, is swifter than the male; and the female red is actually a smoky blue colour. The colouration for which these animals are known is an attribute of the male only.

blue groperAchoerodus viridis, a large fish renowned as much for its inquisitiveness as for its startling cobalt-blue colouring. When born, every fish is female and coloured green. They mature in the sheltered seagrass beds of bays and estuaries before moving out to rocky reefs, where juveniles change colour to a ruddy brown when sexually mature. After having bred, it will change both sex and colour. It is thought that the trigger for sex change relates to the ratio of male-to-female, as a means of maintaining balance. Found on rocky reefs from Hervey Bay to Wilson's Promontory, it greet divers upon entering the water. The blue groper eats a range of invertebrates, such as crabs, sea urchins, cunjevoi, and molluscs. Despite its common name, it is not a true groper (family Serranidae), but a wrasse (family Labridae). It was made the Fish Emblem of NSW in 1996 and then promoted to the state's Marine Emblem in 2000.

blue gumEucalyptus globulus, an evergreen tree, one of the most widely cultivated trees native to Australia. They typically grow from 30-55m tall, though the tallest currently known specimen in Tasmania is 90.7m tall. There are historical claims of even taller trees, the tallest being 101m. The natural distribution of the species includes Tasmania and southern Victoria (particularly the Otway Ranges and southern Gippsland). There are also isolated occurrences on King Island and Flinders Island in Bass Strait and on the summit of the You Yangs near Geelong. The d'Entrecasteaux expedition made immediate use of the species when they discovered it, the timber being used to improve their oared boats. The blue gum was proclaimed as the floral emblem of Tasmania on 27 November 1962. The bark sheds often, peeling in large strips. The broad juvenile leaves are borne in opposite pairs on square stems. They are about 6-15cm long and covered with a blue-grey, waxy bloom, which is the origin of the common name "blue gum". The mature leaves are narrow, sickle-shaped and dark, shining green. They are arranged alternately on rounded stems and range from 15-35cm in length. The buds are top-shaped, ribbed and warty and have a flattened operculum (cap on the flower bud) bearing a central knob. The cream-colored flowers are borne singly in the leaf axils and produce copious nectar that yields a strongly flavored honey. The fruits are woody and range from 1.5-2.5cm in diameter. Numerous small seeds are shed through valves (numbering between 3 and 6 per fruit) which open on the top of the fruit. It produces roots throughout the soil profile, rooting several feet deep in some soils. They do not form taproots. The plant was first described by the French botanist Jacques Labillardière in his publications Relation du Voyage à la Recherche de la Pérouse (1800) and Novae Hollandiae Plantarum Specimen (1804). The author collected specimens at Recherche Bay during the d'Entrecasteaux expedition in 1792. The tree is widely cultivated elsewhere in the world. It is primarily planted as a pulpwood, and also as an important fuelwood in many countries. It comprises 65% of all plantation hardwood in Australia with approximately 4,500km² planted. Blue gums have historically been used as street trees but are now regarded as unsuitable by many municipalities due to their rapid growth and mature size. Blue gum timber is yellow-brown, fairly heavy, with an interlocked grain, and is difficult to season. It has poor lumber qualities due to growth stress problems, but can be used in construction, fence posts and poles. The leaves are steam distilled to extract eucalyptus oil. E. globulus is the primary source of global eucalyptus oil production, with China being the largest commercial producer. The oil has therapeutic, perfumery, flavoring, antimicrobial and biopesticide properties. Oil yield ranges from 1.0-2.4% (fresh weight), with cineole being the major isolate. E. globulus oil has established itself internationally because it is virtually phellandrene free, a necessary characteristic for internal pharmaceutical use. Blue gum leaves are used as a therapeutic tisane or "herbal tea". Blue gum flowers are considered a good source of nectar and pollen for bees. Also known as Tasmanian blue gum, southern blue gum.

blue heeler—1. an Australian breed of cattle dog that controls the cattle by biting their heels; bred in the nineteenth century by crossing a dingo with a type of Scottish collie, producing a dog with a bluish-silver coat. Like the indigenous dingo, the blue heeler seldom barks. 2. a policeman: like the cattle dog, he won't let his quarry get away.

blue leschenaultia—a small, spreading shrub that rarely grows to more than 50 cm high, with soft, narrow leaves about a centimetre long and a millimetre wide. Its flowers are two to three centimetres across and range from deep purplish-blue through sky blue to pale blue in colour. In many areas it has a suckering habit which enables it to spread over a wide area, resulting in massed spring displays. Aboriginal people are said to have called blue leschenaultia "the floor of the sky", a most appropriate name as, during spring in areas of favoured habitat, particularly in the Darling Range near Perth, the ground is carpeted with the blue flowers of this magnificent species. The flower is designed for attracting bees, and consists of a blue landing platform with a white centre that helps the bee find the nectar at the base of the tubular petals. To reach the nectar the bee must either pick up or deposit pollen. WA has no less than 21 different leschenaultias. Flowering time: July to November.

blue lilyNymphaea violacea, commonly seen along the margins of billabongs in Arnhem Land. Its violet-tipped white flowers appear between January and July. The seeds and stems can be eaten raw; the tuberous underground bulbs can be eaten after cooking.

blue malleeEucalyptus gamophylla, a small, shrubby tree to 4m endemic to sandplains. Occasionally found on rocky hillslopes. This species varies greatly from mallee to forest tree. Foliage is bluish; white flowers occur in October to March. Also called the twin-leaf mallee.

blue metal—crushed rock used for road base.

Blue Mountains—a part of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, located 50km west of Sydney. Adjoining the Wollemi National Park to the north and Kanangra Boyd National Park to the south west, this is one of the largest natural areas in NSW. Captain Phillip established the first settlement at Sydney Cove in 1788, and in 1789 Captain Tench reached the foothills of the Blue Mountains and named the Nepean River. Once considered an impassable barrier, the Blue Mountains is now a major gateway to Western New South Wales. The Blue Mountains were originally named "Carmarthen Hills" and "Landsdowne Hills" by Governor Phillip, however, it wasn’t long after that the distinctive blue haze surrounding the area saw the change in name. The Blue Mountains is densely populated by oil-bearing Eucalyptus trees. The atmosphere is filled with finely dispersed droplets of oil, which, in combination with dust particles and water vapour, scatter short-wavelength rays of light—which are predominantly blue in colour.

Blue Mountains tree-frogLitoria citropa, a species of tree frog native to the coastal and highland areas of eastern Australia, from just south of Newcastle NSW, to eastern VIC. This is a moderate sized frog, up to about 60mm in length. Its dorsal surface is brown with a few darker flecks, and a dark stripe runs from the nostril, above the tympanum, to the groin. There is a lighter golden stripe above and adjacent to the dark stripe. The frog is normally green on the side of the head (under the eye), side and arms and legs. The amount of green on an individual frog can range from almost none at all to an all green colour morph. The green colour can occasionally be aqua-green. The armpit, thigh, groin, and inner section of the foot are bright red-orange in colour. The belly is white. At rest, its drawn-up legs conceal the bright colours of its sides and thighs. This species is associated with rocky, flowing streams in woodland and wet or dry sclerophyll forest. The Blue Mountains tree-frog has a two-part call, the first is a strong warrrrrk followed by a number a shorter notes that sound like a golf ball going in a hole. Males call from streamside vegetation and rocks in the stream from spring to summer, normally after heavy rain. This species is often found in highland areas, especially the Blue Mountains, hence its name. It can be kept as a pet in Australia, in captivity with the appropriate permit. Tree frogs generally eat a variety of insects; in captivity, they eat gut-loaded crickets, their own tadpoles, guppies, spiders and worms. The Jenolan Caves tree-frog, a population formerly separated as L. jenolanensis, is nowadays included in this species.

blue murder—a scream, an outcry, ruckus: e.g., My sister cries blue murder whenever I bash her.

blue quondongEleocarpus augustifolius, a common tree of the wet tropics, found along the eastern coast of northern New South Wales and Qld. Its fruit is a startling deep blue, and consists of a thin layer of flesh over a large, hard seed. The very tall tree (up to 35 metres/117 feet) has a sparse, airy habit, with lateral branches clustered with deep green, narrow leaves. Its fruit is a favourite food of the Wompoo fruit dove, and sought after by cassowaries and musky rat-kangaroos. Not related to the quandongs, or "native peaches" that are the fruits of Santalum acuminatum.

Blue Streak—one of four big rockets developed by the Anglo-Australian Joint Project at Woomera. The others were named Black Arrow, Redstone, and Europa. Blue Streak became the first stage of the Europa vehicle, with France providing the second stage and Germany the third. Italy worked on the satellite project, while the Netherlands and Belgium concentrated on tracking and telemetry systems. Australia was the only non-European member, a status granted in return for providing the launch facilities.

blue swimmer crabPortunus pelagicus, this species is found throughout Australia (0-60m depth) and also overseas through the Indo-Pacific region from east Africa to Japan, Tahiti and northern New Zealand. They prefer shallower waters in estuaries but move to deeper water as they age and in response to water temperatures and inshore salinity. These crabs are good swimmers in part because the hind pair of legs has been modified into swimming paddles. When not active they tend to bury themselves in the bottom sediment, leaving only their eyes, antennae and gill chamber opening exposed. The carapace can grow up to 21cm and they can obtain a weight of up to 1kg. It has a long spine projecting out of each side of the carapace. The colour can range from brown through to blue or even purple. The crabs form breeding pairs and mate during the late summer (January- March). The mature males moult some weeks before the mature females and each male carries a female clasped beneath him for 4-10 days before the female moults. The actually mating occurs immediately after the female has moulted and while her shell is still soft. The female lays up to 2 million eggs, which are planktonic and hatch within about 15 days. Also known as sand crab, blue manna crab, blue crab.

blue tiger butterflyTirumala limniace leopardus, a large butterfly with a wingspan of 75-95mm. Sexes are similar. At rest, the male can be distinguished from the female by the bell-shaped elevated scent patch located between the first and second veins of the hind wing. The upper side of both wings is black with pale blue markings. These markings are broad streaks at the base of the wings but become smaller and more circular towards the outer margins. The ground color of the under side is a beautiful olivaceous brown. The markings below are similar to those on the upper side. They're found across the northern and eastern areas of Australia and in some years will mass migrate to the south.

blue whaleBalaenoptera musculus, a marine mammal belonging to the baleen whales (Mysticeti). At 30m in length and 170 tonnes or more in weight, it is the largest known animal ever to have existed. Long and slender, the blue whale's body can be various shades of bluish-grey dorsally and somewhat lighter underneath. Blue whales were abundant in nearly all the oceans on Earth until the beginning of the twentieth century. For over a century, they were hunted almost to extinction by whalers until protected by the international community in 1966. Before whaling, the largest population was in the Antarctic, numbering approximately 239,000. Blue whales are rorquals (family Balaenopteridae), a family that includes the humpback whale, the fin whale, Bryde's whale, the sei whale, and the minke whale. DNA sequencing analysis indicates that the blue whale is phylogenetically closer to the sei whale (Balaenoptera borealis) and Bryde's whale (Balaenoptera brydei) than to other Balaenoptera species. The first published description of the blue whale comes from Robert Sibbald's Phalainologia Nova (1694). Carl Linnaeus named the species in his seminal Systema Naturae of 1758. The name was really derived from the Norwegian blåhval, coined by Svend Foyn shortly after he had perfected the harpoon gun. The blue whale's long, tapering body appears stretched in comparison with the stockier build of other whales. The head is flat, U-shaped and has a prominent ridge running from the blowhole to the top of the upper lip. The front part of the mouth is thick with baleen plates; around 300 plates (each around one metre long) hang from the upper jaw, running 0.5m back into the mouth. Between 70 and 118 grooves (called ventral pleats) run along the throat parallel to the body length. These pleats assist with evacuating water from the mouth after lunge feeding. The dorsal fin is small, ranging in height from 8-70cm (usually 20-40cm) and averaging about 28cm, which is visible only briefly during the dive sequence. When surfacing to breathe, the blue whale raises its shoulder and blowhole out of the water to a greater extent than other large whales, such as the fin or sei whales. When breathing, the whale emits a spectacular vertical, single-column spout up to 12m, typically 9m. Its lung capacity is 5,000 litres. Blue whales have twin blowholes shielded by a large splashguard. The flippers are 3-4m long. The upper sides are grey with a thin white border; the lower sides are white. The head and tail fle are generally uniformly grey. The whale's upper parts, and sometimes the flippers, are usually mottled. The degree of mottling varies substantially from individual to individual. Blue whales have relatively small brains, only about 6.92kg, about 0.007% of its body weight. This species can reach speeds of 50 kph over short bursts, usually when interacting with other whales, but 20 kph is a more typical traveling speed. When feeding, they slow down to 5 kph. Blue whales most commonly live alone or with one other individual. It is not known how long traveling pairs stay together, but they do not form the large, close-knit groups seen in other baleen species. As with other baleen whales, its diet consists almost exclusively of small crustaceans known as krill. When fully expanded, its mouth is large enough to hold up to 90 metric tons of food and water; however, the dimensions of its throat are such that a blue whale cannot swallow an object wider than a beach ball. The whales always feed in the areas with the highest concentration of krill, sometimes eating up to 3,600kg of krill in a single day. The daily energy requirement of an adult blue whale is in the region of 1.5 million kilocalories. Their feeding habits are seasonal. Blue whales gorge on krill in the rich waters of the Antarctic before migrating to their breeding grounds in the warmer, less-rich waters nearer the equator. The blue whale can take in up to 90 times as much energy as it expends, allowing it to build up considerable energy reserves. Because krill move, blue whales typically feed at depths of more than 100 metres during the day and only surface-feed at night. Dive times are typically 10 minutes when feeding, though dives of up to 20 minutes are common. The whale feeds by lunging forward at groups of krill, taking the animals and a large quantity of water into its mouth. The water is then squeezed out through the baleen plates by pressure from the ventral pouch and tongue. Once the mouth is clear of water, the remaining krill, unable to pass through the plates, are swallowed. The blue whale also incidentally consumes small fish, crustaceans and squid caught up with krill. Mating starts in late autumn and continues to the end of winter. Little is known about mating behaviour or breeding grounds. Females typically give birth once every two to three years at the start of the winter after a gestation period of 10 to 12 months. The calf weighs about 2.5 metric tons and is around 7m in length at birth. Blue whale calves gain weight quickly, as much as 90kg every 24 hours. The calf is weaned after six months, by which time it has doubled in length. Sexual maturity is typically reached at five to ten years of age. The whales' only natural predator is the orca. All blue whale groups make calls at a fundamental frequency between 10 and 40 Hz, and which last between ten and thirty seconds. The reason for vocalization is unknown. Blue whale hunting was banned in 1966 by the International Whaling Commission, and illegal whaling by the USSR finally halted in the 1970s, by which time 330,000 blue whales had been caught in the Antarctic, 33,000 in the rest of the Southern Hemisphere, 8,200 in the North Pacific, and 7,000 in the North Atlantic. The largest original population, in the Antarctic, had been reduced to 0.15% of their initial numbers. The IUCN Red List counts the blue whale as "endangered" as it has since the list's inception.

blue wren—any number of birds of the family Maluridae, of which emu-wrens (Stipiturus) and grasswrens (Amytornis) are found only in Australia. Fairy-wrens (Malurus) are found in both Australia and New Guinea. They are small birds, 12cm—22cm, with a thin bill, rounded wings and the long tail cocked over the back. They are insectivores and most species forage on or near the ground. Monogamous socially, but in superb fairy-wrens up to 95% of nests contain at least one extra-pair young. Overall, 76% of young are sired by extra-pair males. Female superb fairy-wrens chose extra-pair males that molt earlier into their bright blue breeding plumage. Males molt up to five months before the breeding season begins, and only males that molt at least a month before it begins gain any extra-pair paternity. High levels of extra-pair paternity are also found in other species. Biparental care, usually with helpers. All species have been reported living in groups at some time, and most, if not all, are probably cooperative breeders. Cooperative breeding is most likely a consequence of a shortage of mates, rather than a shortage of suitable habitat. Both sexes sing, as well as all members of the social group. Songs are 1-4 seconds long. Playback experiments in three species of Malurus indicate that birds can distinguish between the songs of different individuals. In particular, they respond more strongly to the songs of strangers than to songs of familiar group members.

blue-billed duckOxyura australis, one of the two stiff-tailed ducks in Australia, of which there are eight species world-wide. During mating season (September-November) the drake is distinguished by a slate-blue bill. He is in the non-breeding (eclipse) plumage for most of the winter. Blue-billed ducks spend the majority of their time on water, and are rarely seen on land. It dives for the aquatic plants, larvae and invertebrates that make up its diet; midgies are taken from the surface of the water. This duck inhabits the deep, permanent, well-vegetated swamps of south-west WA and Lake Eyre Basin.

blue-breasted fairywrenMalurus pulcherrimus, a species of bird in the Maluridae family, endemic to Australia. Their range is inland south-western Western Australia and the Eyre Peninsula of South Australia. Originally, it was thought to occur only in Western Australia, but was later found in the more eastward area, where it was for some time mistaken for one of the many forms of the variegated wren (Malurus lamberti). The distribution of the species is unusual in that there is a gap in their range of three hundred kilometres—from the head of the Great Australian Bight to their reappearance on Eyre Peninsula. It is not a common species, and being secretive by nature it is not an easy bird to observe. However, the females may be induced to show themselves if the wren distress call is imitated. The adult males are even more shy than the females and are usually only glimpsed skulking in the bushes. Blue-breasted fairywrens are predominately ground feeders, taking beetles, grubs, ants, weevils flies, wasps and other small invertebrates. The contact call is a soft, short, reed-like trill. The alarm call is the typical malurus short churring notes repeatedly spat out and taken up by all members of the group. The males have the least distinctive song of the Malurus family, it being a soft whirring, buzzing trill, usually given from a sheltered vantage point deep within the foliage of shrubby vegetation. The comparatively short breeding season is from August to November. This means the species usually only has time to raise one, sometimes two, clutches per year. Only females have been observed nest building and brooding the eggs and young. The time taken to complete a nest is roughly a week. The average clutch consists of three ovoid, creamy coloured eggs speckled with coarse smudges and blotches of reddish-brown, particularly on the larger end. Little is known of the incubation period and the rearing of the young, but these tasks are probably similar in nature to the other closely related members of the wren family. However, both parents and other members of the individual family group have been observed feeding the nestlings. If the nest, or young, are threatened both adult sexes employ the "rodent-run" predator-distracting technique typical of the Maluridae.

blue-cheeked rosella—(see: pale-headed rosella).

blue-eyed—1. innocent; free of guilt or blame: e.g., What are you looking so blue-eyed about? 2. favourite; darling; pet: e.g., He's his mother's blue-eyed boy.

blue-faced honeyeaterEntomyzon cyanotis, located across the Top End and down the eastern side of Australia. Favours woodland, pandanus, paperbarks, mangroves, watercourses, parks and gardens. Forages for food on sides of trees and on the ground, eating insects, nectar, pollen, berries and such cultivated crops as bananas. Will also catch prey on the wing, and raids other birds' nests for eggs and chicks. Identified by its white belly, black throat and neck, distinctive blue patch around the eye on adult birds, olive-green wings and tail. The early morning piping-like call is very different to the miner-like daytime chattering.

blue-green algae—cyanobacteria, a naturally occurring, microscopic, primitive photosynthetic bacteria that grows in large bodies of water. When phosphorus concentration in rivers becomes too high, the rise in cyanobacteria becomes toxic to other life. This rise in concentration is attributed to run-off from fertilizer and factories, as is also the case with algal bloom (which is provoked by an unusually high concentration of nitrogen.)

blue-nose—a person who tries to impose a strict moral code on others.

blue-nosed wowser—teetotaller; killjoy: e.g., Those blue-nosed wowsers really get my goat.

blue-rinse brigade—wealthy matrons.

blue-singlet—pertaining to the working classes.

blue-spotted stingray—Dasyatis kuhlii has a grey-to-brown disc with light blue and black spots, and a dusky band crossing the eyes and the interorbital region. This species has a long pale-tipped tail, the posterior third of which is crossed by dark bands. It grows to a disc width of 40cm and a total length of 70cm. The blue-spotted stingray lives in coastal and estuarine waters and is often observed buried in sand or mud with only the eyes exposed. It occurs throughout the tropical Indo-West Pacific. In Australia it is known from the central coast of Western Australia, around the tropical north and south to the New South Wales north coast.

blue-tongued lizardTiliqua scincoides, a large skink, about 45cm from the tip of its head to the tip of its tail. If cornered, this species will hiss violently and protrude its cobalt-blue tongue to frighten its aggressor. Their diet usually comprises snails, insects, mice and fruit. For this reason they are very useful animals to have around the garden, where they may live for many years. Although well-regarded by gardeners, they do have a reputation for stealing dog food. Often commonly sighted in Sydney's suburbs during the '60s and '70s, those spotted in backyards now are mostly ageing adults. When they die there may be very few young blue-tongues to follow on. They shelters in hollow logs and leaf litter of forests, open woodlands and grasslands of northern and eastern Australia. Mating occurs in spring, with five to 24 young (average of ten) being born alive. The young are independent from the time of birth. There are 7 species of blue-tongue in Australia.

blue-winged kookaburraDacelo leachii, a large species of kingfisher native to northern Australia and southern New Guinea. Measuring around 40cm, it is slightly smaller than the more familiar laughing kookaburra. It has cream-coloured upper- and underparts barred with brownish markings, blue wings, brown shoulders and a blue rump. The adult blue-winged kookaburra measures around 38-42cm in length and weighs 260-330g. Compared to the related laughing kookaburra, it is smaller, lacks a dark mask, has more blue in the wing, and striking white eyes. It has a heavier bill than its larger relative, and the head and underparts are cream-coloured with brownish streaks. Immature birds have more prominent brown bars and marks in their plumage, giving a 'dirty' appearance, and their eyes are predominantly brown for the first two years of life. The call has been described as a maniacal cackling or barking. It is sexually dimorphic, with a blue tail in the male, and a rufous tail with blackish bars in the female. The blue-winged kookaburra was first collected by Sir Joseph Banks in 1770, but was initially overlooked and confused with the laughing kookaburra. The species was ultimately officially described by Nicholas Aylward Vigors and Thomas Horsfield in 1826, its specific name commemorating the British zoologist William Elford Leach. It is one of four members of the genus Dacelo which are commonly known as kookaburras. The number of subspecies is unclear, with four recognised by most authorities, although others have proposed the three Australian subspecies gradually change across Australia and should be treated as one. D. leachii leachii is the nominate subspecies, found from Brisbane, Qld to Broome, WA. D. leachii cervina is found on Melville Island and the adjacent mainland. D. leachii cliftoni is found from the Pilbara and Hamersley regions of north-western Australia. D. leachii intermedia is found in southern New Guinea. Found in family groups of up to 12 individuals, it lives in open savannah woodland and melaleuca swamps, as well as farmlands such as sugar cane plantations. The blue-winged kookaburra hunts and eats a great variety of animals that live on or close to the ground. In the summer wet season, insects, lizards and frogs make up a higher proportion of their diet, while they eat arthropods such as crayfish, scorpions, spiders, fish, earthworms, small birds and rodents at other times. They have even been recorded waiting for and snatching insects flushed out by bushfires. The blue-winged kookaburra is a cooperative breeder, a group being made up of a breeding pair and one or more helper birds who help raise the young. Breeding occurs once a year in late spring (September to December). The nest is a hollow high up in a tree, often 25m or so above the ground. Three or four white, slightly shiny eggs measuring 44 x 35mm or a little larger are laid. The female incubates the eggs for around 26 days, and nestlings spend another 36 days in the nest before fledging. Chicks are born pink, blind and naked, and break their way out of the egg with an egg tooth on the bill. Feathers appear by seven days and their eyes open from the tenth day onwards. Kookaburra chicks are often highly aggressive in the first week of life, and the youngest chick is often killed by the older chicks during this period. Once fledged, juvenile birds need to be taught how to hunt by their parents for a further 6-10 weeks before they can properly fend for themselves. Adult birds are slow flyers, and preyed upon by the red goshawk and rufous owl. Nests are susceptible to raids by olive pythons, quolls and goannas. Widespread and common throughout its large range, the blue-winged kookaburra is evaluated as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Also known as barking or howling jackass, or Leach's kookaburra.

bluebottlePhysalia physalis is not a single animal but a colony of different polyps (kinds of highly modified individuals). Bluebottles feed using their long, stinging tentacles to ensnare small crustaceans and other members of the surface plankton. Bluebottle tentacles will cause a sharp, painful sting in humans if they are touched, which is aggravated by rubbing the area. Intense pain may be felt from a few minutes to many hours and develops into a dull ache which then spreads to surrounding joints. The affected area develops a red line with small white lesions. In severe cases blisters and weals looking like a string of beads may appear. Victims may exhibit signs of shock. Children, asthmatics and people with allergies can be badly affected and many cases of respiratory distress have been reported in Australia. Bluebottles are more common on exposed ocean beaches after strong onshore winds and are rarely found in sheltered waters. Also known as the Portuguese Man o' War.

bluebushChenopodium auricomum, a native shrub of the WA wheatbelt. Bluebush grows particularly well on salt-affected soils that are not prone to waterlogging. The plant itself averts waterlogging because it has roots to a depth of approximately 2m, which aid in keeping the water table down. It also provides a good food source for stock. Between the end of summer and early winter, farmers are often looking for an alternative and nutritious food source for their stock. If an area of bluebush is available, then other paddocks can be 'rested'. The sheep benefit as a result of the high protein diet and new growth is promoted in the bluebush the following season, as a result of the pruning. Bluebush pastures can be grazed for short periods on an annual basis, once the plants have become established.

Bluestone College—Pentridge Prison (Melbourne).

bluey—1. affectionate name for a red dog or a red-haired person. 2. a blanket-roll containing one's possessions, such as swagmen carried; a swag.

Bluey and Curley—Australian digger cartoon characters by A Gurney—now used as standard Aussie characters in the telling of jokes.

Bluff Downs—while Australia drifted in isolation for more than thirty million years, a unique diversity of animals developed. In the sticky mud of a wetland in Far North Queensland, strange relics from ancient times and the precursors of the modern Australian fauna left their bones. Four million years later, two fishermen discovered what is now recognised to be one of the most significant fossil sites of Pliocene age in Australia on the banks of Allingham Creek at Bluff Downs Station. Volcanic lava flows were prevalent 4 million years ago, and at Bluff Downs have preserved a record of giant-sized animals (megafauna). These include a long-legged, terrestrial crocodile that chased its prey, Quinkana babarra; the giant goanna, Megalania; the largest snake ever to have lived on this continent, the python Liasis oenpelliensis; and Thylacoleo crassidentatus, the precursor of the leopard-sized Pleistocene 'marsupial lion', T. carnifex. Bluff Downs is located in Cape York Peninsula, NT.

Bo-peep—(rhyming slang) a look: e.g. Have a Bo-peep at this!

boab treeAdansonia gregorii is a distinctive features of the Kimberley region of Western Australia. They are also found in north-west Northern Territory. The immense, swollen trunks on older trees can measure over 15m around. Radio-carbon dating of a related species in Africa indicated an age of 1000 years. Given their slow growth rate and the immense size of some trunks, large Australian boabs are also likely to be very old. The large white flowers, which are pollinated by hawk moths, appear on the spreading branches of the tree when it has dropped its leaves. The name boab is a shortened version of the African 'baobab'. Boabs are a puzzle. In spite of their trunk shapes, they are not related to Australian ‘bottle trees'. Their closest relatives are six species in Madagascar and one on the African mainland. The large, spherical fruit, known as "boab nuts", hangs like unseasonal Christmas baubles. Local Aboriginal people have traditionally used the nuts as decorative ornaments depicting cultural scenes. The dark, hairy surface of the dry boab nut is scratched away to reveal the lighter, smooth surface of the nut in order to create a pictorial story.

board—floor of the woolshed where sheep are shorn.

Board—(the...) a general term to describe the administrative board appointed by the Victorian government to control and oversee the lives of Aboriginal people in the state, these days the Board of Protection for Aborigines.

Board of Protection for Aborigines (VIC)—the board was originally established in 1860 as the Central Board to watch over the interests of the Aborigines. In 1869 the Central Board became the Central Board for the Protection of Aborigines, and finally was reformed as the Aborigines Welfare Board in 1957. By 1900, most Victorian Aborigines had been placed on reserves. In 1917, the Victorian Board decreed that all remaining Victorian "full bloods" were to be housed at Lake Tyers. Missions elsewhere were closed down and people who refused to relocate were deprived of welfare benefit. The board is often referred to generally as the Aborigines Protection Board (APB) or simply the Board.

boardie—surfboard-riding enthusiast; surfie.

boarding-house reach—someone with long arms who can reach things easily.

boat race—1. situation in which the outcome has been secretly rigged, especially in horse-racing. 2. form of drinking competition; alcoholic drinking race.

boatie—boat enthusiast or owner.

bob—a shilling in pre-decimal days, but still used in many sayings.

Bob Hope—(rhyming slang) soap; dope.

Bob's your uncle—expression indicating that everything is perfect, going extremely well, as planned and expected. It was both British and Strine for "you have an inside track" or "you have a lock on it". The origin of the expression Bob's your uncle remains something of a puzzle. The phrase did not come into circulation until the 1930s, hence the conclusion by all the books: 'origin unknown'.

bob-in—a collection of money whereby all participants contribute a specified amount and drinks are purchased from this pool.

bobby-dazzler—(Brit.) outstanding, attractive or showy. The origin of the phrase comes from oil lamps with magnifying lenses that were used at night in Victorian times by crooks, to dazzle policemen (bobbies) who were trying to identify them.

bobtail—a tractor without a trailer.

bodge—to make a mess of (from botch).

bodgie—1. of poor or inferior quality, e.g., The carpenter did a bodgie job. 2. In the 1950s, a Teddy boy; hence, 3. an unruly or uncouth young man.

bodgie job—inferior, unskilled, second-rate work performed on something.

bodgie name—false name; alias.

body corporate—a body that collectively manages the subdivision of a building or land that is registered with the State. A body corporate may be created in any subdivision—residential, retail, commercial, industrial or mixed use.

body painting—many Aboriginal communities have been painting their bodies for thousands of years. For these communities, body painting relates to conventions, laws and religion—it is a means of communication. In dance, designs are used to change the surface of the body to tell a story. although these designs are not exclusive to dance but are found on many different everyday and ritual objects. For Indigenous Australians, spirituality centres around the land. Incorporating the earth into spiritual ceremonies is done by many tribes using various ochres. Different coloured ochre is applied to various designs according to one's totem, so that spirituality is awakened during the paint-up. There are no time constraints, no boundaries; there's a palpable sense of timelessness about the ritual. Each family group carries one totem, which they must look after together with the related Dreamtime story.

bodyline bowling—(cricket) persistent fast bowling on the leg side threatening the batsman's body.

boffin—person involved in research, particularly technical research.

bog—1. wet, spongy ground. 2. defecation; excrement. 3. to defecate. 4. the toilet.

bog in—an exhortation to vigorous action, roughly equivalent to "wade in": e.g., Two, four, six, eight; bog in, don't wait! (Often applied to the consumption of food).

bog Irish—of common Irish ancestry.

bog-standard—basic edition, model, etc; the no-frills version.

bog-trotter—(derog.) an Irish person, particularly a peasant: derived from the commonly boggy soils of Ireland.

bogey—a swim or bathe; a bath.

bogey-hole—a natural swimming-hole; from an Aboriginal-language word.

bogey-man—evil spirit fabricated to frighten children.

Boggabri—a small farming community located in the Narrabri Shire between Gunnedah and Narrabri, NSW. The major industries are cotton, sheep and cattle. It has a cotton gin, which brings seasonal employment to the area. The name is taken from an Aboriginal word meaning 'place of many creeks'. John Oxley became the first European to set foot in the district in 1818. On a more colourful note, George 'The Barber' Clarke, a convict escapee, fled to the area in 1826, living with the Kamilaroi peoples, who it seems may have regarded him as one of their own returned from the dead. He acquired two Aboriginal wives, underwent body initiation rites and generally adopted the language, dress and customs of the group.

boggabri weed—any of several low herbs, especially Amaranthus mitchellii, Chenopodium pumilio, C. carinatum, and Commelina cyanea.

bogged up—clogged; e.g., The drainpipe is bogged up. 2. constipated.

boggi—1. Tiliqua rugosa, a blue-tongued lizard common on the plains west of the Great Dividing Range, where rainfall is low. Also known as the shingleback, sleepy lizard and stumpy-tailed lizard. 2. the handpiece of a shearing machine.

boggle—stare unashamedly.

boggomoss—a small peat bog, formed by water from underlying aquifers of the Great Artesian Basin being pushed to the surface through mound springs. They are oases of moisture in a seasonally dry landscape which support rare wetland fauna and flora, or species found hundreds of kilometres west of their normal range. These moist habitats are dominated by water-tolerant species, such as coolibah trees, sedges and ferns, and occur as isolated fragments scattered throughout the landscape, with different vegetation on each boggomoss.

Boggomoss Springs—active artesian springs, rare habitats that are under threat from aquifer draw-down. The site is located 20km north-east of Taroom and lies within the Fitzroy catchment in Queensland, in the Brigalow Belt South bioregion. It consists of artesian springs scattered over an area of approximately 400ha. The springs arise from the Great Artesian Basin, and are permanently flowing. The permanently saturated nature of the springs provides a habitat markedly different from that of the surrounding region. The flora also differs from that of other artesian springs, with little-known wetland animal and plant species. Land uses of the area include grazing and broad-acre farming, and the springs are an important water source for livestock.

boghouse—the toilet, especially an outside one.

bogie/bogie drive—tractor with two rear axles.

bogie trailer/bi-axle—truck and/or trailer where the tractor/trailer has two rear axles.

bogie-tri—tractor with two rear axles pulling trailer with three axles.

bogieman—evil spirit fabricated to frighten children.

bogle—1. a bogeyman. 2. a phantom. 3. a scarecrow.

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