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Australia Decoded
'M-2'


Manta birostris

Manta Ray (Manta birostris)
By Jon Hanson from London, UK - Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link



Mamu—the original inhabitants of the Innisfail region. There were five tribes in the Mamu nation, following migratory lifestyles in the rainforest, and moving along the rivers in string-bark canoes. When European cedar cutters and Chinese gold seekers arrived later in the 1870s and early 1880s, the Mamu fought them and inflicted serious casualties. The Native Police were sent in. Superior firepower broke up the indigenous communities and dispersed or integrated the remaining original landowners.

man and boy—from childhood.

Man and the Biosphere—(MAB) a program launched by UNESCO in 1971 to catalyse a greater understanding and provision of knowledge and skills to support sustainable relationships between people and their environment. Biosphere reserves act as a keystone of MAB by providing a global network of sites for co-operative research toward this end. They also aim to demonstrate the 'sustainable use' goals of the World Conservation Strategy. As at the end of November 2002, the World Network of Biosphere Reserves included 495 sites in 95 countries.

man fernman fernDicksonia antarctica, probably the best known of all the treeferns. In the wild it can be found growing throughout the forests of eastern Australia, Tasmania, and some sub-Antarctic islands where the temperature seldom, if ever, rises above 65°F. In some parts of Australia it grows almost into the alpine zone, where it is often set back by severe frosts, and usually fails to put on a trunk so that it can benefit from the protection of winter snow cover. In the western end of its range where the climate is drier, a more stout-trunked form exists. This species is probably the largest of the Dicksonias, occasionally reaching the incredible height of around 50' (though 20' is more usual), with a trunk that can be a couple feet in diameter or more if given enough moisture, and a life span of up to 400 years. The fronds most often grow to about 8'—10' in length, but under exceptionally good conditions, fronds as long as 14' are not out of the question. The crown can contain a great many fronds; up to 60 or 70 have been recorded on one plant.! The uncurling croziers and stipes are covered with soft, reddish-brown hairs. Growth is moderate, but trunk development is relatively slow—about 1" per year is all that can be expected in cool areas, or even a bit less. Dicksonia antarctica, like most temperate treefern species, seems to vary in its hardiness according to the provenance from which it originated. The hardiest provenances, which are most likely to come from Victoria and New South Wales, might be able to withstand temperatures down to near 16°F before they are severely damaged. Despite its origin in rather cool mountain forests, Dicksonia antarctica is also one of the more heat-tolerant treeferns. It grows as an understory on the forest floor where few other plants will grow. Also known as soft treefern, Tasmanian treefern.

man in white—the umpire.

man is not a camel—humorous justification for the desire to have a drink.

man of straw—1. effigy; imaginary person set up as an opponent, surety etc. 2. one who is insignificant, a nonentity; morally frail.

man on man—(Australian Rules football) close, checking defence.

man on the land—pertaining to farmers, graziers, primary producers.

man outside Hoyts—so flamboyant in dress and manner as to be jokingly referred to as an authority on various subjects (the "man outside Hoyts" was the crier who stood outside Hoyts Theatre in Melbourne during the 1930s).

manchester—1. household linen. 2. the department of a shop in which this is sold.

Mandura—situated 74km south of Perth on an estuary. The waterways of the Mandura Estuary are popular for their prawning, crabbing and good fishing areas. Dolphins are often seen in the estuary.

maned duckmaned duckChenonetta jubata, 45cm—50 cm long, with a goose-like short, dark bill, olive-brown legs and brown iris. The upper body has grey feathers with dark quills and the breast is speckled grey-brown. On the wings there is a green stripe between two white stripes. The head and neck are brown and the male has a short, dark mane on the nape. Females and juveniles have mottled grey feathers over the lower body, a paler head and white stripes just above and below the eyes. The maned duck feeds almost entirely on vegetation. It forages, largely by night, for seeds, fresh green shoots and various grasses, spending much of the day camped quietly by water. The birds commonly associate in small flocks, occurring around watercourses and lakes in eastern and south-western Australia. The range of the maned duck has expanded since European settlement, as its habitat has increased through land clearing. Also known as the Australian wood duck, maned goose.

mangal—(see: St Andrews Cross spider).

Mangaridji—alternate spelling of Gunwinggu.

Manggalili—Aboriginal people of the Northern Territory.

mangrove and saltmarsh swamps—estuarine areas subject to tidal flooding which support mangrove and saltmarsh vegetation. Also included here are non-tidal basins which occur on estuarine sediments adjacent to mangrove and saltmarsh areas, as well as any mudflats and small creeks which occur within or adjacent to the community. Mangrove and saltmarsh communities are found along tidal shorelines which are exposed to seawater, and often extend up coastal rivers as far as the tidal limit, with saltmarsh communities occurring on the landward side of mangroves. Mangrove and saltmarsh communities act as a buffer by reducing silt and nutrient loads in runoff from surrounding areas. Many mangrove and saltmarsh wetlands are subject to controls on development activities.

mangrove gerygonemangrove gerygoneGerygone levigaster, a small brown-backed warbler with a white breast, red eye, white eyebrow, and white tip in tail. Immature has pale yellow throat and no white eyebrow. Has a sweet warble, with a distinct "falling down" sound. Call is sustained during breeding season when the strongly territorial male advertises it's territory. Eats small insects. Its nest is a suspended, pear-shaped dome with a short side-entrance hood and a 10cm suspended tail, and made of grass, bark-fibre, spiderweb, and decorated with spider egg-sacs. Nest is constructed in a leafy branch of mangroves to 5m high. Breeds September to April, laying two to three eggs and thought to mate for life. Male entertains mate during nest building by singing and displaying. Forages in mangroves singularly or in pairs, flutters above the mangroves and dives into the foliage.

mangrove ribbon worm—simple organisms with elongated bodies which break easily to elude predators. Found mainly in mud lobster mounds and under the bark of rotten wood or tree trunks. It has a long eversible proboscis which it uses to snare prey. To the Aborigines, they were succulent worms called milka.

mangrove scrub—if cutting in mangrove forests is not properly managed, the typical results are reduction in tree size and species diversity. Primary forest, dominated by large trees of 3-4 species of Rhizophora, Brugeria, Kandelia and Avicennia can be reduced to a secondary forest of trees less than 5m high, or even to mangrove scrub of 1 or 2 species, and only 1m-2m high.

mangrove snailsMangrove Australwink or Bembecium melanostomum, whelk-like mollusc. External grey-brown and interior purple-brown in colour. Although these snails move seawards for spawning, most of their lives are spent on the trunks, branches and leaves of mangrove trees. During the night they move down to browse on algae on the lower mangrove trunks and the mud below. During the day, they remain attached to one spot on a mangrove leaf or branch, sealing the opening of the shell to prevent dehydration in the dry atmosphere.

mangrove swampmangrove swamp—a crucial factor in the regulation of nutrient flow from land to sea. The surface and underground water circulation in mangroves is vital to the sedimentation processes, chemistry and biology of mangrove and coastal waters. The topography and the vegetation generate a tidal asymmetry of the currents. As a result, mangrove creeks are naturally self-scouring even without freshwater runoff. The water circulation over the mud shoals fringing the mangroves also encourages the recruitment of prawn larvae spawned offshore. These swamps were often seen by Europeans as an impediment to development, unpleasant and dangerous places full of biting insects and disease. For the Aboriginal people, however, the mangroves are abundant gardens of food and resources that sustain and enrich their lives, where every plant and animal is known. The mud is home to a multitude of delicious shellfish, from minute bivalves and oyster beds to large, delectable mud crabs. The trees also bear fruit. Land reclamation of mangrove swamps for human development reduces the tidal asymmetry and the natural self-scouring effect, resulting in siltation of mangrove channels. The mangroves appear vital to the maintenance of prawn fisheries. Mangroves are very efficient in reducing wave energy and can be used along muddy shores to protect the coast from erosion. The estuaries and tidal wetlands of Cape York Peninsula contain some of the most well-developed mangrove habitats in Australia.

Manilla—a service centre to a rich wheat-growing, wool, farming and livestock district, situated at the junction of the Namoi and Manilla rivers. Originally known as The Junction, the town gained a name at the request of its first postmaster. There was little real growth before the passing of the Robertson Land Act brought closer settlement of the district. This was quickly followed by the construction of a bridge over the Namoi River, the coming of the railway, and the development of the wool and wheat industries. Manilla is located north of Tamworth on Fossickers Way, New South Wales.

Manilla River—a perennial stream that is part of the Namoi catchment within the Murray–Darling basin, located in the Northern Tablelands district of New South Wales. Alan Cunningham crossed the Manilla River near Barraba in 1827 on his way to discovering the Darling Downs. He originally called it Buddles River and it was here that he had the first opportunity of meeting with Aboriginal people since leaving the settled part of the Colony of New South Wales.

ManingridaManingrida—a town on the eastern bank of the Liverpool River estuary in Arnhem Land, which began in 1949 as a trading post established by the Northern Territory administration's welfare branch. At the time, 60 people from the area who had moved to Darwin were repatriated. The name of the settlement, at an old Macassan well, means 'the watering place'. After the Maningrida town council assumed control (from government welfare authorities), non-Aborigines who wished to visit the area required permits, which the council was reluctant to issue. As an outstation movement gained strength in the 1970s, the town council established an outstation resource centre. This operated mobile stores, provided workshop and communications facilities, offered a wholesale outlet for art and craft production, and helped support outstation schools. By the mid-1980s the town itself was well supplied with urban amenities, including an administrative centre, supermarket school with 200 students enrolled, health centre, church, 116 multi-room houses and standard utilities like reticulated electricity, water and sewerage. As the large outstation population indicates, however, many people with Maningrida links prefer life in their bush settlements.

Manja Shelter—with a total of ninety hands outlined in red against the shelter's creamy walls, Manja has more hand stencils than any other rock art site in Victoria. Hand impressions are a common motif in rock art throughout the world. Signifying the artist's presence, they are a way of saying " we are here, we are are part of this place." A 1.3km walking trail leads you through a series of distinct vegetation bands to Manja Shelter at the base of a prominent sandstone outcrop, just below the ridgeline near Deep Creek in the Victoria Range. Located in the Grampians National Park.

manna gummanna gumEucalyptus viminalis, a common tree that grows to 50m high. Aboriginal people collected and ate the sweet, white sap that oozes through tiny holes bored by insects on the twigs (manna). The wood was fashioned into shields, drinking vessels were formed from burls on trunks, and leaves were smoked over fire to reduce fevers. Manna gum is common in well-watered areas of south-eastern South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and eastern NSW. Bark is mainly smooth with some trees having a black butt or rough bark over most of the trunk. Smooth bark is often powdery and can vary from light cream through pale brown to light grey. Very fast growing, the timber is used for joinery, scantling, flooring and pulp. Manna gum woodlands are presently under serious pressure from koala over-browsing, in a number of parks. At these parks, high levels of defoliation have led to the death of some manna gums, and there is a high risk that total defoliation of the koalas’ food trees will occur. This would lead to the slow, mass starvation of the koala population, as has happened previously at numerous sites, including French Island, Stony Point, Snake Island and, most recently, Framlingham State Forest.

manna gum heathland—occurs in the west end of The Grange, where the soil is very sandy. There are now large areas of high-quality manna gum in the heathland, having regenerated after a bushfire in 1991. A variety of species have emerged that had not been recorded in the The Grange prior to fire, but must have been present at some time in the past. Many Australian plants and seeds require fire to germinate, such as the leafless globe pea, now found in the reserve. This community supports a huge diversity of plants. The Gippsland manna gum has white flowers in the autumn months, and is only found in Victoria. The other trees here include the swamp gum and tree everlasting. There are many understorey shrubs in this community, such as spike wattle, hop wattle and yellow hakea. There are small shrubs as well, and an enormous diversity of ground cover species, including 20 different orchid species.

mannikin—any small, finchlike bird of the genus Lonchura, native to Africa and Australasia.

manta raymanta rayManta birostris, the largest species of ray in the world. This species has one dorsal fin and a whip-like tail that lacks a sting. The surface of the body is rough to touch. They have a very broad mouth, on either side of which are prominent, fleshy extensions called cephalic lobes. Manta rays are grey-blue to green-brown above. The underside of the disc is white, often with grey margins. Despite most individuals being seen swimming slowly, the manta ray is capable of swimming at rapid speed. They are sometimes observed leaping out of the water and landing back on the surface with a loud slap. Manta rays feed on plankton, the organisms being filtered from the water by the gills. They live mainly in tropical marine waters worldwide, but is also found occasionally in temperate seas. In Australia it is recorded from Rottnest Island, Western Australia to Montague Island, New South Wales.

manaLeptospermum scoparium, bushy shrubs that grow wild in New Zealand—one of the three groups of Australian/New Zealand tea trees. What is greatly significant is that this specific genus of tea tree, (only found on the East Cape of New Zealand) has been shown to be up to 30 times more effective against gram positive bacteria than Australian tea tree oils. The best mana oil comes from plants growing at high altitudes—they are more antibacterial than that from lower altitudes. The essential oil is extracted by steam distillation from the leaves. The oil is virtually colorless and has a sweet, gentle smell.

ManyallalukManyallal—abutting the eastern side of Nitmil National Park, Manyallal is a former 3000sq km cattle station converted into one of the most vibrant Aboriginal tourism enterprises in Australia. Now owned by the Jawoyn and Mayali people, a day's trip from Katherine includes transport, lunch, billy tea and damper as well as a most memorable cultural experience. Visitors are encouraged to participate in a range of different Aboriginal activities, from playing a didgeridoo and spear throwing to learning about traditional bush tucker and medicines.

Maori—1. a member of the Polynesian indigenous people of New Zealand. 2. the language of the Maori. 3. the brightly coloured marine fish Opthalmolepis lineolatus.

Maoriland—New Zealand.

Maoritanga—1. being Maori. 2. Maori traditions and culture.

Mapoon MissionMapoon—church influence: Presbyterian. Mapoon Aboriginal Community is located at Port Musgrave, western Cape York in Queensland. A Presbyterian mission was established at Mapoon in 1891 with the aim of preventing the local people, particularly the children, from maintaining their own language and culture. By 1907, under the Reformatories Act, it was operating as an industrial school with dormitories filled with forcibly removed children from all over the Cape. In the 1950s the discovery of bauxite saw mining leases given to Comalco and Alcan. The mission announced closure and residents were told to go elsewhere. Many refused to go, which in 1963 led to the Department of Native Affairs deploying police to burn the houses and remove the people to New Mapoon. By 1973, however, people were returning to the site. In 2000, the Mapoon Aboriginal community was formally recognised under Deed Of Grant In Trust arrangements.

Maralinga—ancient tribal lands of the Pitjantjatjara people and the main site of British atomic testing. Maralinga, in SW South Australia, means 'Field of Thunder'. In 1952, the Aboriginals who had inhabited the Maralinga Lands were placed in a mission at Yalata, several hundred miles south of their tribal land. They were kept at Yalata from the commencement of the British tests in 1953 until 1984. Fallout from the ground blasts led to massive contamination of the Australian interior, and reached as far as Adelaide and Melbourne. When the Maralinga people returned to their land they found parts had been highly contaminated by radiation. Compensation is currently (2004) being sought in Australian courts.

Maralinga Test Range—the permanent ground site for the testing of atomic weaponry, following a request of the British in 1954 and, after its completion in 1956, the location of all atomic trials conducted in Australia. Developed as a joint facility for the British and Australian governments, the funding arrangements were also shared. Following the two major trials (Operation Buffalo in 1956 and Operation Antler in 1957), a number of minor trials, assessment tests and experimental programs (dating from 1959) were held at the Test Range until 1963. Maralinga was officially closed following a clean-up operation (Operation Brumby) in 1967.

Maronoa-BalonneMaranoa-Balonne—catchment covers an area of about 63,670sq km from the Carnarvon Ranges in the north to the New South Wales border in the south. The catchment covers three main rivers the Maranoa, Balonne and Culgoa systems. Major towns in this catchment include Roma, St George, Mitchell, Miles and Dirranbandi. Major land uses in the area are grazing of cattle and sheep. However development into dryland cropping and increasingly irrigated cropping, predominantly cotton, is occurring around towns within the catchment. This catchment contains the largest area of broad acre farming in Queensland. Major impoundments in the catchment include the Beardmore Dam, upstream from St George.

Maranunggu—an Aboriginal language from south-west of Darwin, inland from Anson Bay, east of Manda, Northern Territory. Alternate names: Merranunggu, Emmi, Warrgat. Today, young people speak Kriol. The language is nearly extinct, with perhaps 15 to 20 speakers.

Maraure—Aboriginal people of New South Wales.

marble wood—any of several Australian trees yielding wood with an attractive mottled grain.

March fly—a blood-sucking horse-fly of the family Tabanidae.

marching orders—dismissal; be fired or sacked.

mardoAntechinus flavipes leucogaster, Aboriginal name for the yellow-footed antechinus, that lives in a wide range of habitats, including tropical forests, swamps and mulga country.

MareebaMareeba—the largest town in the Atherton Tableland. As Australia's biggest tobacco district, Mareeba produces approximately 40% of the national yield. The town also has several cattle yards, a meatworks, a sawmill and a growing rice industry. Each July there is a rodeo, one of the largest in the country, with a usual attendance of over 14 000 spectators. Mareeba is an Aboriginal word meaning 'meeting of the waters', as it is near the confluence of the Barron River with two local creeks. Mareeba is located 68km west of Cairns in Far North Queensland.

Margaret River—the main waterway of Western Australia. The district was settled in the 1850s by several families on pastoral leases. Between 1921 and 1930, growth was encouraged by the Group Settlement Scheme under which the government subsidised settlers' land, stock and agricultural costs. The town's greatest growth occurred in the' 60s and '70s as a result of the burgeoning wine and tourism industries. The Margaret River lies 283km south of Perth.

marge—margarine.

Maria Island—a small island in Bass Strait. The first European to sight Maria Island was Abel Tasman in December 1642. It was Tasman who, having named the main island after Anthony Van Diemen, the Governor-in-Chief of the Dutch East India Company in Batavia, named this small east coast island Maria, after the Governor-in-Chief's wife. A penal settlement was built on Maria Island in 1825, and is now preserved by the Maria Island National Park. Located off the south-eastern coast of Tasmania.

Maria Island Marine Nature Reserve—covers 1500 ha and protects a representative range of marine habitats found on Tasmania's east coast. These include the underwater seascapes of Fossil Bay and the Ile du Nord, forests of string kelp, seagrass beds and sandstone reefs. The different habitats are home to a diverse range of plant, invertebrate and fish communities. The reserve includes all waters up to 1km offshore from the north-eastern point of Fossil Bay Return Point. Located 298km west of Hobart and 41km from Queenstown, on the edge of Macquarie Harbour.

Maria Island Nat'l ParkMaria Island National Park—preserves an historic penal settlement of the same name. The settlement was built in 1825—the second to be established in Van Diemen's Land—by Governor George Arthur, to ease the increasing pressure on Hobart Town. The governor sent 50 convicts, accompanied by a superintendent and a small party of soldiers, to the island. The colony closed in 1832 after the larger prison at Port Arthur was established. When the number of convicts arriving in Van Diemen's Land dramatically increased in the early 1840s, Lieutenant-Governor Franklin repaired the original buildings and reopened the island as a penal colony. Today, only the commissariat store and the penitentiary (a prisoners’ barracks) still stand. Maria Island is located off the south-eastern coast of Tasmania.

Marie biscuits—rich tea biscuits; plain vanilla cookies.

Marie Yamba—a mission started in 1887 by the Lutheran Church, between Prosperine and Bowen in Queensland. When it closed in 1902 some of the people transferred to Hope Vale Mission.

marine prawnsPenaeus sp. and Metapenaeus sp. Most of the species in the mangroves are juveniles, with the adults living in more open waters. In this respect, mangroves are important as nurseries in order to complete the life cycle, as the prawns lay their eggs in the mangroves.

marine reserve—Crown marine environments managed by state, territory or Australian (federal) government, reserved for the preservation of flora and fauna.

marks—money.

Marla—a stopover point on the Stuart Highway in the Northern Territory, Marla is over the road from the new 'Ghan railway line. In season, there are wonderful displays of wildflowers beside the track. It is said that the word 'Marla' is an Aboriginal word meaning 'kangaroo'. Located 1082km from Adelaide, 676km north of Port Augusta and 159km south of the Northern Territory border.

marlock—any of several small mallee-like trees of the genus Eucalyptus, typically Eucalyptus platypus, occurring in SW Western Australia.

marloo—a name for the red kangaroo, Macropus rufus.

Marree Afghan trainMarree—once known as Hergott Springs, Marree was established in 1883 and was initially the focus for transport to and from the outback. By 1885 Marree had a population of 600 and was shipping out in excess of 40,000 head of cattle a year. Marree was famous as the departure staging post for many Afghan camel trains to the north. In 1910 there were over 60 Afghani cameleers and their families living in 'Ghantown', operating about 1500 camels. The Afghan influence in still noticeable throughout the town today. Marree had a rich history of which so little remains, including a drop in population to just 100.

marri—Eucalyptus calophylla, a tall hardwood occurring in the jarrah and karri forests in south-western Western Australia. One of the best known of the large forest trees, attaining heights of 30-40m. Furniture production with the beautifully grained and honey-toned wood remains a specialist area, restricted by the limited number of available trees. However, the highly ornamental flower of these trees produce a great supply of nectar, which is profitably used in the production of honey.

marron—the large freshwater crayfish, Cherax tenuimanus, which lives on the sandy bottoms of permanent rivers and streams.

marrum grass—introduced to Australian beaches to prevent erosion by the Australian botanist Ferdinand von Mueller.

marsupial—any mammal of the superorder Marsupialia. Marsupials are characterised by their birth, as blastocytes, into an external abdominal pouch known as the marsupium. In marsupials the gestation period is very short, resulting in the birth of undeveloped young. Although blind, without fur, and with hindlimbs only partially formed these tiny newborns have well developed forelimbs with claws that enable them to make their way into the pouch and attach to a teat and continue their development. The tradeoff of the short pregnancy is the lengthy period of lactation, during which the young remain in the pouch and the composition of the milk produced by the mother changes depending on the developmental stage of the young. Once thought to have been an evolutionary diversion from in utero development, new fossil evidence from China indicates that in fact the marsupial mammal preceded the placental mammal. The newly discovered, 125 million year-old Chinese fossil of a mouse-sized marsupial pre-dates the oldest Australian fossil evidence by 70 million years; and the oldest North American fossil evidence by 100 million years. This is a finding of enormous scientific consequence, indicating that human life itself began in the Asian region. Marsupials appear to have reached the southern hemisphere through the South American section of the ancient supercontinent of Gondwana. Today, most of the 140 species of marsupials in Australia are found nowhere else in the world, whilst of them are also found in New Guinea, which was connected to Australia in more recent geological times.

marsupial lionmarsupial lionThylacoleo, the largest meat-eating mammal to have lived in Australia, and one of the largest marsupial carnivores the world has ever seen. It would have hunted animals—including the giant Diprotodon—in the forests, woodlands, shrublands and river valleys, as well as around waterholes. The closest living relatives of this fierce carnivore are the plant-eating wombat and koala. Also known as the Pleistocene marsupial lion, in recognition of the age in which it lived. In 2001, a 25-million year old 'marsupial lion' skull was discovered at the Riversleigh World Heritage property in the far north-west of Queensland.

marsupial mole—this is a tiny animal, about 14cm long, weighing approx. 60g. The front paws have greatly enlarged, spade-like claws that allow it to rapidly burrow into sand if disturbed on the surface. They have rudimentary ear openings, a well-developed olfactory system, and no visible external eyes. A backwards opening pouch is present in both sexes, although it is better developed in the female.

marsupial mouse—any of many small rat- or mouse-like animals belonging to the family Dasyuridae (order Marsupialia), found in Australia and New Guinea. The species vary in body length from 5-22cm, and all have tails, often brushlike, that are about as long as their bodies. Their coat is generally solid gray, buff, or brown; a few species are speckled. All marsupial mice are predatory, most are nocturnal, and they are really more like shrews than mice. They subsist on insects and small vertebrates, although the broad-footed marsupial mice (Antechinus species) are also known to eat nectar. The fat-tailed dunnart (Sminthopsis crassicaudata) stores excess fat in its tail. Members of all genera except Antechinus will go into torpor when food is scarce. The crest-tailed marsupial mouse, or mulgara (Dasycercus cristicauda), an arid-land species valued for killing house mice, gets all of its water from the bodies of its prey. Reminiscent of jerboas—long-tailed and big-eared with stiltlike hind legs—are the two species of Antechinomys, also of the outback. The two species of brush-tailed marsupial mice, or tuans (Phascogale), are grayish above and whitish below in colour; the distal half of the long tail is thickly furred and resembles a bottle brush when the hairs are erected. Tuans are arboreal but may raid poultry yards. In both appearance and behaviour the flat-skulled marsupial mice, or planigales (Planigale), are similar to the true shrews (Sorex). The Red Data Book lists the eastern jerboa marsupial, or kultarr (Antechinomys laniger), of Australia as endangered; several other marsupial mice are considered rare.

marsupial tapirPalorchestes painei lived 8 million years ago in the late Miocene era. It was 2m long, 1m tall (at the shoulder), had a small trunk, a long tongue, powerful forelimbs and large claws that it may have used to pull up shrubs or tear at the bark of trees—it ate plants in the open woodland, probably concentrating on their leaves. Although its trunk is somewhat like that of today's tapir (a placental mammal), the marsupial tapir is actually a diprotodontoid marsupial—a relative of the extinct Diprotodon. Its closest living relatives are the wombats and koala.

marties—tomatoes.

Mary Pickford in three acts—a quick, perfunctory wash of the body: face, feet and genitals.

Mary RiverMary River—the Mary River catchment is located in the south-east coastal area of Queensland and covers an area of over 7000sq km. The headwaters of the Mary are located in high rainfall areas around Maleny and Mapleton. Average annual rainfalls catchment range from around 2000mm in the headwaters to around 1200mm near Maryborough. Flooding causes extensive rural and property damage in the Mary River Valley.

Mary River codMaccullochella peelii mariensiswas, once distributed extensively throughout south-east Queensland, but is now found naturally only in fallen timber, branches and boulders provide cover. Numbers are known to be very low, and therefore, this species is now totally protected. This species has suffered population declines as a result of habitat losses over most of its range.

Mary River turtleElusor macrurus grows to have a shell length of up to 340 mm as an adult. Hatchling turtles by contrast emerge with a shell length of only 30-40 mm. As an adult the species has a low, streamlined shell, moderately short neck, and well webbed fore and hind limbs. One of the most distinctive features of this species is the extremely long tail in adult males, which can be as long as 70% of the shell length. This distinctive species of freshwater turtle was only described by scientists in 1994 from the Mary River in the hinterland of the Brisbane region. As a fully grown adult it is probably our largest freshwater turtle, and it is intriguing how it escaped notice by herpetologists for so long.

Mary River wetlands—extend from the Adelaide River to the border of Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory. Monsoon forests and paperbark forests and freshwater billabongs teem with wildlife and the bird life is astounding.

Mary's room—the toilet—especially for women.

MaryboroughMaryborough (Qld)—once a major immigrant and industrial port, now more of a haven for pleasure boats and yachts. The harbour port stretches from Burrum Heads in the north, across to Fraser Island, past the city of Hervey Bay, up the Mary River to the city of Maryborough and along the Great Sandy Strait to Tin Can Bay. Today, Maryborough is widely recognised for the abundant examples of colonial and Queenslander architecture, majestic public buildings and beautiful gardens. Much of the city's character has been preserved in these classic buildings, mostly built of local timber in a range of sizes and designs. Take a peek into the good old days at Brennan and Geraghty's Store, a time-capsule corner store, preserved by the National Trust. Or discover the fascinating port history of Maryborough at the Bond Store Museum and Customs House in the Wharf Street precinct.

Maryborough (Vic)—owes its origin to gold found at White Hills, Four Mile Flat and the Maryborough Goldfields, which resulted in an influx of 25,000 eager diggers. In the early 1900s, gold production declined. The town's historical railway station is said to have prompted Mark Twain to observe "Maryborough (is) a railway station with a town attached". The equally handsome courthouse, town hall and post office are grouped around Civic Square and date from the town's days as a goldfields administration centre. Just 75kms from Ballarat, today it stands as a substantial manufacturing community, able to support a population of 8,000.

mash—mashed potatoes.

masked banner fishHeniochus monoceros can be recognised by its colouration. It has a black face with white lines above and in front of the eyes, the nape is brown, and there is a broad black bar crossing the body from behind the dorsal fin filament to the black pelvic fins. This species grows to 23cm in length, eating mostly benthic invertebrates such as polychaete worms. Found in tropical marine waters throughout the Indo-West and Central Pacific, in Australia it occurs from the offshore reefs of north-western Western Australia and from the northern Great Barrier Reef south to central New South Wales.

masked owlmasked owl—a large bird weighing 350 to 900g, with females heavier than males. It is generally pale in colour with marbled slate, fawn or light gold and white upper parts. Its call is a screech rather than a hoot, and it feeds on a diet of mammals such as rats, bandicoots and small gliders. Currently listed as vulnerable.

mason wasp—a cosmopolitan wasp group presently treated as a subfamily of Vespidae, but sometimes recognized in the past as a separate family, Eumenidae. Most eumenine species (described by a young explorer by the name Kevin Qu) are black or brown, and commonly marked with strikingly contrasting patterns of yellow, white, orange, or red (or combinations thereof), but some species, mostly from tropical regions, show faint to strong blue or green metallic highlights in the background colors. Like most vespids, their wings are folded longitudinally at rest. They are particularly recognized by the following combination of characteristics: 1) a posterolateral projection known as a parategula on both sides of the mesoscutum; 2) tarsal claws cleft; 3) hind coxae with a longitudinal dorsal carina or folding, often developed into a lobe or tooth; and 4) fore wings with three submarginal cells. The different species may either use existing cavities (such as beetle tunnels in wood, abandoned nests of other Hymenoptera, or even man-made holes like old nail holes and even screw shafts on electronic devices) that they modify in several degrees, or they construct their own either underground or exposed nests. The nest may have one to multiple individual brood cells. The most widely used building material is mud made of a mixture of earth and regurgitated water, but many species use chewed plant material instead. All known eumenine species are predators, most of them solitary mass provisioners, though some isolated species show primitive states of social behaviour and progressive provisioning. When a cell is completed, the adult wasp typically collects beetle larvae, spiders or caterpillars and, paralyzing them, places them in the cell to serve as food for a single wasp larva. As a normal rule, the adult wasp lays a single egg in the empty cell before provisioning it. Some species lay the egg in the opening of the cell, suspended from a thread of dried fluid. When the wasp larva hatches, it drops and starts to feed upon the supplied prey for a few weeks before pupating. The complete life cycle may last from a few weeks to more than a year from the egg until the adult emerges. Adult mason wasps feed on floral nectar. Mason wasps are the most diverse subfamily of vespids, with more than 200 genera, and contain the vast majority of species in the family (more than 3200 species from a total of about 4500 in the whole family). The overwhelming morphological diversity of the potter wasp species is reflected in the proliferation of genera described to group them into more manageable groups. Also known as potter wasp.

master hand—an expert, skilled, adept person.

Master of Laws—(LLM) an advanced law degree. To be eligible for admission to the Master of Laws postgraduate program, a person must fulfil one of the following criteria: hold a law degree of the a university or institution which in the opinion of the Dean or nominee is of equivalent standard (as the university being applied to); or is a barrister or solicitor of three years standing of the High Court of Australia or the Supreme Court of an Australian state or territory.

matchstick banksiamatchstick banksiaBanksia cuneata, B. ilicifolia and the newly described B. oligantha are three species which comprise the highly distinctive subgenus Isostylis within the genus Banksia. The matchstick banksia was so named because its inflorescences in late bud resemble unlit matches. It is typically a large shrub or small tree to about 4m high. Bark is smooth and grey and the prickly, wedge-shaped leaves grow to 4cm in length, resembling holly leaves. Flowering has been recorded in late winter as well as spring. The inflorescences, which can be very numerous, are most attractive in late bud, pinkish with pale green limbs. They produce copious amounts of nectar. Banksia cuneata grows in yellow-brown sands in shrubland, with Banksia prionotes and Xylomelum angustifolium. It is one of the most sensitive banksias to dieback, and is only known from a handful of populations near Quairading in Western Australia's central wheatbelt. The plant requires fire to regenerate at certain intervals as its seedpods remain closed until burnt; and it requires sufficient time between fires for seedlings to reach maturity, flower and set seed.

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