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37 responses to “Climate change begins to bite”

  1. Paul Norton

    Right. No more swimming at Woodgate for me.

  2. Peter Murphy

    Irukandji may not kill you, but I gather they’ll make you wish you were dead.

  3. pablo

    A similar climate change phenomena with the advance of Dengue Fever as heard on ABC RN Breakfast today. Normally the mosquito carrier dies off by May around Cairns but not any longer it seems. Cases of the debilitating disease are still presenting and health authorities are concerned about potential spread.

  4. akn

    Yeah, and I hear that Barmah Forest fever is heading North as well, from Victoria into NSW.

    Alan Ginsberg was right. Viruses, fevers and perverts are the future. Or was that the 70’s? Oh no! The 70’s were just a rehearsal?

    Someo9ne will find a way to make a quid out of irukandji, surely? A diesel additive, maybe. A sexual stimulant. The Japanese pay huge amounts for all sorts of weird shit like this like they did for the Kiwis with velvet from deer horns. Or wattabout … oh, nevah mind.

  5. Jumpy

    On the plus side, the cold loving Jack Jumper Ant, and it’s increasing death toll may be reduced or even stopped.

    This tiny creature is considered one of the most dangerous ants in the world – and, indeed, the most dangerous animal in Australia! In Tasmania, the death toll from the jack jumper’s sting is about one person every four years – greater than the toll inflicted by sharks or by the most poisonous of snakes or spiders

    Jumpy may get a new gravatar ( if one of his kids shows him how)

  6. Graham Bell

    Don’t ever underestimate deadly species of jellyfish.

    There’s worse to come. Just wait until the scalies get down to highly populated beaches and rivers. A big one was spotted in the Mary River. If you have your lunch in Brisbane’s Botanic Gardens, best you keep well back from the river’s edge …. scalies are faster than greased lightning when they attack.

  7. Mila

    Brian I heard about this on ABC radio, it was part of a conversation by a marine biologist on the migration of many species due to global warming. The scientist was for the most part talking about warm water species now being found ever further south and their cold water cousins doing likewise which in turn is going to put enormous pressure on targetted table species.I think it might have related to redmap.org.au

    A site to encourage recreational fishers to record/photograph and advise as citizen scientists to help fill in the gaps of knowledge.

    Deeply concerning though, we really do need to elect politicians who will take this seriously.

  8. akn

    Graham Bell: WTF is a scalie? It just gets worse and worse! Is it a type of Nat? Left over from J. B-P days? So hardened to corruption that it just bites and stings whatever the target? Or is it a “natural” form?

  9. Jumpy

    Maybe Graham meant snailies.
    We don’t get them up here in jellyfish country…….yet!!

  10. Graham Bell

    AKN @ 8

    Crocodile. Swift, agile, silent, patient …. deadly.

  11. desipis

    Brian, that’s not a croc, that’s a croc.

  12. BilB

    Yes I saw that article, too, Brian. Whas it on Catalyst? The comment was about both the spread and extending of the danger season.

  13. Dr Lisa-ann Gershwin

    I just thought I might chime in with my two cents worth, given that I was mentioned. Irukandjis are indeed small and potent little critters! The commonest species, Carukia barnesi, is only about 1cm tall on a good day, with meter long tentacles as fine as cobwebs. And it really only takes a brush of the critter so softly that you don’t feel it and it leaves little or no mark, to make you very very sick. But the good news is that we’ve gotten really good at treating their stings, really good at preventing their stings, and researchers are currently awaiting funding to continue developing a forecasting system that shows great promise so far. And while it might initially sound undesireable to wear protective clothing, you actually don’t feel it while you are in the water, and it works incredibly well at preventing all sorts of stings, and it’s an ecofriendly way to prevent sunburn because all that sunscreen isn’t leaching off into the water.

    Anyway, thanks for talking about them – even though talking about them is a bit scary, it opens up exchange of ideas and communication about safety. And that’s a lot better in the long run than not talking about them and having unaware people continuing to get stung.

    You might also be interested to read my book Stung! On Jellyfish Blooms and the Future of the Ocean. It only discusses boxies and irukandjis briefly (though vividly with interesting stories, I suppose), but is more about human impacts on the oceans and the unexpected role of jellyfish.

  14. akn

    Oh. Crocs. why didn’t you just say so!

  15. paul burns

    7.30, I think. A little while ago. I remember seeing it too.
    A while ago there were reports Ross River fever could be down as far as New England within 5 years or something.

  16. Graham Bell

    AKN @ 19

    Sorry, thought everyone knew the slang term for ‘crocodiles’ …. and, after all, the title of this thread is “Climate change begins to bite”. :-)

  17. akn

    It’s ok GB. Just kidding. Although, with Oz reputation for small and deadly critters, I wouldn’t have been surprised at all to find that ‘scalies’ were a previously unheard of nasty. I only recently became aware that ‘bull routs’ are in fact fresh water stone fish. The treatment after stepping on one is to immerse the affected limb in water as near to boiling as possible. This apparently denatures the toxin. It also feels better than the pain! Fortunately, in many years of bushwalking and camping, I never stepped on one. As to the Tasmanian ‘jumping jack’ ant – all I can say now is ‘oh, is that what that was’. Damn but it hurt.

  18. Jumpy

    Just caught the end of a story on ABC news radio about a cure for Dengue fever that’s in the works.
    Just 15 minutes ago.
    It also mentioned a village in Indonesia ( I think ) puts hand made balls of natural stuff, including sea shells, into places mosquitos normally breed and it stops em.
    Since they started the practice not one infection has occurred.
    Too early for story to be up on the ABC site it seems.

  19. Graham Bell

    akn @ 23
    The good news is that most of Australia’s deadly beasties are passive (seawasps, stone fish, etc.) or not aggressive unless they feel threatened (standing on a snake does not make it happy) – only a few actually hunt us (crocodiles, sharks, mosquitos). No bears, no leopards, no tigers – thank goodness.

    Jumpy @ 24
    There have been many reports of imminent cures for one type of malaria or another over the years; I’ll just hold off on celebrating a cure for dengue fever until I get rock-solid confirmation …. it would be terrific though.

    Meantime, I recommend that everyone in potentially susceptible area of southern Australia start thinking about the usual anti-mosquito precautions: sleep under a mosquito net, roll down sleeves at sunset, empty out any potential mosquito-breeding containers around the house, etc. They might be necessary sooner or later.

    Of course, climate sceptics quite are welcome to throw all such precautions to the winds and to put their faith firmly in their beliefs.

  20. jules

    A few years ago I was working on a place with lots of old irrigation lines, a couple of hundred acres, and most of it was stuffed so we were doing alot of repairing lines and drippers. There were places where I’m sure there were fire ants. They were living in 10 mm irrigation line that had failed or been chopped off and left in the paddock. Tried reporting them to the boss but he clearly didn’t pass on the report to anyone else.

    They were small but varying in size, red, aggro as, and left tiny painful blisters where I was bitten. Not as bad as i’d been expecting from the stories but I can imagine being swarmed by them from multiple points, not the end of an irrigation line would be harder to deal with. In the course of working there the manager I’d previously reported the ants to got sacked and I took the new one out to find the alleged fire ants.

    We checked every line in the area, and only found those small native black ants, which are also v aggro but but don’t bite – well a tiny nip that barely hurts. Naturally we had nothing to report at this point. I was working in Northern NSW but it was near the head of the Tweed River so further north than some parts of Qld.

    I’m from Hobart originally and can conform that jack jumpers are dangerous. I had a few friends as a kid who were very allergic to them – to the point where we were warned they could die if bitten. Nasty little things.

    BTW Thanks for the stuff re Dr Gershwin. The jellyfish have been on the rise for nearly a decade now, if you watch the reports. i remember reading about somewhere in eastern Europe where the trawlers had given up on fish and were catching the jellyfish to export to E Asia, cos there was a market for them there. This was a few years ago.

  21. Tim Macknay

    This thread reminds me of the old dystopian SF novel The Sheep Look Up by John Brunner, in which pesticide resistance caused an explosion of nasty creepy-crawlies across the landscape.

  22. David Irving (no relation)

    Yeah, that’s a great book, Tim. Wasn’t there also a bit in there about polluted water turning some food into a hallucinogen?

  23. pterosaur1

    Paul @ 20
    Ross River virus is already established along the E, coast of Tassie. Contracted it myself some years ago, and was exceedingly ill. Thankfully, I don’t suffer from the recurrent arthritis which many report.
    Apparently there are two types or “phases” of the virus. Type A produces relatively mild symptoms (likened to a ‘flu attack) which are followed by recurrent arthritis for years after the initial infection. Type B , with severe initial symptoms (fevers, delirium etc.) without ongoing symptoms.

  24. pterosaur1

    Wrt to “tipping points” in the oceanic ecosystems, I read somewhere that as humanity effects the elimination of the top predators from the oceans, squid are moving into the now vacant niches. Squid, however are typically short lived in comparison to scalefish, and by recycling nutrients more rapidly will further disrupt the oceanic food webs, favouring algal blooms and the rise of the jellyfish.
    The Humboldt Squid being one such “critter” – not your average calamari.

  25. Jumpy

    Hallo wats dis?

    Golspie wind farm (abandoned)
    Principal: Wind Prospect CWP
    Scope: Construction of a wind farm with upwards of 100 turbines and associated infrastructure
    Status: Project abandoned
    Value: $700 million
    Silverton wind farm (deferred)
    Principal: AGL Energy
    Scope: Construction of a wind farm comprising 282 turbines and associated infrastructure
    Status: Project deferred
    Value: $800 million

    Apart from the obvious question of why 100 turbines cost $700M and an extra 182 cost only $100M more, what’s happening in the wind industry for such back-pedalling on investment ?
    Although Boco Rocks $750M project is in construction now.
    Anyone know how many turbines that brings?
    ( oh, and I’m sure I’ll get capacity comparisons and happy to hear them )

  26. Jumpy

    Another one in doubt

    Stony Gap wind farm (proposed)
    Principal: EnergyAustralia Victoria
    Scope: Proposed construction of a wind farm comprising 41 turbines and associated infrastructure
    Status: Development application refused appeal lodged
    Value: $400 million

  27. Jumpy

    Oh, it seems I was mistaken about Boco Rocks.
    The contract is $350,000,000 to Downer EDI for 100 turbines and associated infrastructure.