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Derrick

Myrmecodia beccarii on the Gulf of Carpentaria coast.

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An Australian entomologist friend who first introduced me to ant-plants in Australia, told me years ago about a population of plants he had discovered north of Weipa on the the Gulf of Carpentaria on the west side of Cape York Peninsula, Australia. It was a population of myrmecodias with WHITE FRUITS. Back then, it was not well known that M.beccarii was first typified and described from "a very rare specimen" found somewhere on the gulf coast back in the 1880's. Thus initially there seemed to be a possibility that it might be a species new to science. However, now that we know M.beccarii is found as far north as the Iron Range region (which is only slightly to the south of Weipa but on the other side of the peninsula) and that M.beccarii had existed on the gulf coast, it seemed most probable that it might be that species. Thus in 2015 I spent a few days in the region hoping to find a population that had been reported as common specimens. Sadly, although numerous sites were found that seemed ideal habitat, not a single Myrmecodia was found, even in locations where Dischidia nummularia a very common cohabitant was very frequent. The Melaleuca forests (prime M.beccarii habitat) showed signs of intense bush fires and the nearby Rio Tinto strip mining areas were off limits so these are possible reasons why no specimens were found.  I have attempted to advise the Australia Botanical authorities  of the probable presence of a unique population (very possibly genetically distinct) but I have been ignored.  The following link is for the actual herbarium specimens collected from the gulf coast habitat by my friend but they have been incorrectly labelled as the very widepread species M. platytyrea subsp antoinii. which they most certainly are not (it has orange fruits).

http://biocache.ala.org.au/occurrences/151fcb20-a39b-4cba-b8a8-ccf03066bf33

The Australian botanical community seem very determined not to accept their error, possibly because of the enormous power of the Rio Tinto mining empire that is completely denuding vast areas of pristine forest by removing meters of topsoil and ALL of its lifeforms so that they may then remove many meters of the underlying bauxite (aluminium ore). 

Now I have indisputable proof from Rio Tinto's own site analysis that Myrmecodia beccarii does (or now DID?) exist in these lands.

http://www.riotinto.com/documents/SoE_Vol3_EPBC_assessment_report_part_1.pdf

 

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