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Western Port fauna

The following are but a few examples of some of the many wonderful animals to be found in Western Port’s marine, coastal and catchment environments. In each case we have provided the common and scientific names, the source of the photographs and useful links that provide further information on the species.

Over time and with the help of the Community we hope to build the scope and size of this collection and make it a valuable record of the region’s biodiversity.

Most photographs in the collection have been taken within the Western Port region and it is the policy of the WPSP to seek and present photographic records of species observed in the region rather than generic stock.

Marine & Coastal Fauna

Anthropoda

 Type: Crustaceans / Malacostraca / Shrimp
Common Name: Ghost Shrimp
Scientific Name: Trypaea australiensis
Source: Mudflats Lang Lang -  T. Ealey WPSP 

These shrimp live in mud flat burrows which they clear as the tide comes in, causes considerable bio-turbulance and local turbidity changes.

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 Type: Crustaceans / Malacostraca / Crabs
Common Name: Soldier Crab
Scientific Name: Mictyris platycheles
Source: Phillip Island – J. Clarke WPSP

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Echinodermata

 Type: Asteroidea / Star fish
Common Name: Southern Buistuit Star
Scientific Name: Tosia austalis
Source: Flinders WP, Marine Ecology

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Mollusca

 Type: Cephalopoda / Octopus / Squid / Cuttlefish
Common Name: Sand Octopus
Scientific Name: Octopus kaurna
Source: Western Port, David Bryant

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Chordata

 Type: Osteichthyes / Cheilodactylidae/ Morwongs
Common Name: Dusky Morwong
Scientific Name: Dactylophora nigricans
Source: Western Port, David Bryant

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 Type: Osteichthyes / Kyphosidae
Common Name: Zebra Fish
Scientific Name: Girella zebra
Source: Western Port, David Bryant

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 Type: Osteichthyes / Aracanidae / Temperate Box Fish
Common Name: Shaws Cowfish
Scientific Name: Aracana aurita
Source: Flinders WP, Marine Ecology

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 Type: Osteichthyes/Mullidae / Goatfish
Common Name: Australian Goatfish
Scientific Name: Upeneus australiae
Source: Western Port, David Bryant

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 Type: Osteichthyes / Platycephalidae / Flathead
Common Name:  Sand Flathead
Scientific Name:  Platycephalus bassensis
Source:  Western Port, David Bryant

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 Type: Osteichthyes / Sillaginidae / Whiting
Common Name:  King George Whiting
Scientific Name:  Sillaginodes punctatus
Source:  David Muirhead

King George Whiting spawn off South Australia. The larvae drift on easterly currents with juveniles occupying seagrass meadows until maturity, feeding on crustacean like ghost shrimp.

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 Type: Osteichthyes / Sillaginidae / Seahorses / Seadragons / Pipefish
Common Name:  Weedy Seadragon
Scientific Name:  Phyllopteryx taeniolatus
Source:  Flinders WP, Marine Ecology

Victoria’s marine emblem and inhabitant of Western Port.

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 Type: Seahorses / Seadragons / Pipefish
Common Name:  Spotted Pipefish
Scientific Name:  Stigmatopora argus
Source:  Western Port, David Bryant

Pipefish, seahorses and seadragons live in shallow waters, camouflaged in weed covered reefs including the seagrass meadows of Western Port.

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 Type: Mammalia / Cetacea / Whales & Dolphins
Common Name:  Bottle Nosed Dolphins
Scientific Name:  Tursiops truncatus
Source: Hastings – Dolphin Research Institute

More on Bottle Nosed Dolphins 1
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Links – More Information on Marine Fauna

Avian Fauna

Birds

 Type: Accipitridae (Ospreys, Kites, Eagles)
Common Name:  White Bellied Sea Eagle
Scientific Name:  Haliaeetus leucogaster
Source: Phillip Island J. Clarke WPSP

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 Type: Accipitridae (Ospreys, Kites, Eagles)
Common Name:  Swamp Harrier
Scientific Name:  Circus approximans
Source: Phillip Island J. Clarke WPSP

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 Type: Accipitridae (Ospreys, Kites, Eagles)
Common Name:  Wedgetail Eagle
Scientific Name:  Aquila audax
Source: Bass Valley, P.Westwood Friends of Bass Valley Bush Inc .

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 Type: Anatidae (Swans, Ducks, Geese)
Common Name:  Black Swan
Scientific Name:  Cygnus atratus
Source: Phillip Island, J. Clarke WPSP

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 Type: Anatidae (Swans, Ducks, Geese)
Common Name:  Cape Barren Geese
Scientific Name:  Cereopsis novaehollandiae
Source:  Phillip Island, J. Clarke. WPSP

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 Type: Ardeidae (Herons,Egrets,Bitterns)
Common Name:  Eastern Reef Egret
Scientific Name:  Egretta sacra
Source:  Phillip Island, J. Clarke. WPSP

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 Type: Cacatuidae (Cockatoos)
Common Name:  Sulphur Crested Cockatoo
Scientific Name:  Cacatua galerita
Source: Phillip Island, J .Clarke WPSP

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 Type: Cacatuidae (Cockatoos)
Common Name:  Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoo
Scientific Name:  Calyptorhynchus funereus
Source: Phillip Island, J. Clarke WPSP

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 Type: Cacatuidae (Cockatoos)
Common Name:  Galahs
Scientific Name:  Cacatua roseicapilla
Source: Phillip Island, J. Clarke WPSP

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 Type: Campephagidae (Shrike)
Common Name:  Black Faced Cuckoo-shrike
Scientific Name:  Coracina novaehollandiae
Source: Phillip Island, J. Clarke WPSP

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 Type: Dicruridae (Fantails)
Common Name:  Grey Fantail
Scientific Name:  Rhipidura fuliginosa
Source: Phillip Island, J. Clarke WPSP

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 Type: Dicruridae (Fantails)
Common Name:  Willie Wagtail
Scientific Name:  Rhipidura leucophrys
Source: Phillip Island, J. Clarke WPSP

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 Type: Halcyonidae (Kookaburras, Kingfishers)
Common Name:  Kookaburra
Scientific Name:  Dacelo novaeguineae
Source:  Phillip Island, J. Clarke WPSP

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 Type: Laridae (Gulls & Terns)
Common Name:  Silver Gull
Scientific Name:  Larus novaehollandiae
Source:  Phillip Island, J. Clarke, WPSP

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 Type: Laridae (Gulls & Terns)
Common Name:  Pacific Gull
Scientific Name:  Larus pacificus
Source:   Phillip Island, J. Clarke, WPSP

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 Type: Maluridae (Wrens)
Common Name:  Splendid Blue Wren
Scientific Name:  Malurus cyaneus (male & female)
Source:  Phillip Island, J. Clarke WPSP

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 Type: Meliphagidae (Honeyeaters)
Common Name:  White-napped Honeyeater
Scientific Name:  Melithreptus lunatus
Source:  Phillip Island, J. Clarke WPSP

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 Type: Meliphagidae (Honeyeaters)
Common Name:  New Holland Honeyeater
Scientific Name:  Phylidonyris novaehollandiae
Source: Phillip Island, J. Clarke WPSP

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 Type: Meliphagidae: (Honeyeaters)
Common Name:  Little Wattle Bird
Scientific Name:  Anthochaera chrysoptera
Source:  Phillip Island, J. Clarke WPSP

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 Type: Pachycephalidae (Insect eaters)
Common Name:  Rufous Whistler
Scientific Name:  Pachycephala rufiventris
Source: Phillip Island, J. Clarke WPSP

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 Type: Pachycephalidae (Insect eaters)
Common Name:  Grey Shrike-thrush
Scientific Name:  Colluricincla harmonica
Source: Phillip Island, J. Clarke WPSP

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 Type: Passeridae (Finches)
Common Name:  Red Browed Finch
Scientific Name:  Neochmia temporalis
Source: Phillip Island, J. Clarke WPSP

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 Type: Pelicanidae (Pelicans)
Common Name:  Pelican
Scientific Name:  Pelecanus conspicillatus
Source: Phillip Island, J. Clarke WPSP

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 Type: Petroicidae (Robins)
Common Name:  Yellow Robin (male)
Scientific Name:  Eopsaltria australis
Source: Phillip Island, J. Clarke WPSP

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 Type: Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants)
Common Name:  Black Faced Cormorant
Scientific Name:  Phalacrocorax fuscescens
Source: Phillip Island, J. Clarke, WPSP

Black Faced Cormorant

 Type: Psittacidae (Lorikeets, Parrots, Rosellas)
Common Name:  Crimson Rosella
Scientific Name:  Platycercus elegans
Source: Phillip Island, J. Clarke WPSP

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 Type: Psittacidae (Lorikeets, Parrots, Rosellas)
Common Name:  Eastern Rosella
Scientific Name:  Platycercus eximius
Source: Phillip Island, J. Clarke WPSP

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 Type: Psittacidae (Lorikeets, Parrots, Rosellas)
Common Name:  Rainbow Lorikeet
Scientific Name:  Trichoglossus haematodus
Source: Phillip Island, J. Clarke WPSP

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 Type: Threskiornithidae (Spoonbills, Ibis)
Common Name:  Royal Spoolbill
Scientific Name:  Platalea regia
Source: Phillip Island, J. Clarke, WPSP

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 Type: Threskiornithidae (Spoonbills, Ibis)
Common Name:  Australian White Ibis
Scientific Name:  Threskiornis molucca
Source: Phillip Island, J. Clarke, WPSP

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 Type: Tytonidae (Owls)
Common Name:  Barking Owl
Scientific Name:  Ninox connivens
Source: Bass Valley, R. Jago Friends of Bass Valley Bush Inc.

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 Type: Tytonidae: (Owls)
Common Name:  Powerful Owl
Scientific Name:  Ninox stenua
Source: Bass Valley, P. Westwood Friends of Bass Valley Bush Inc .

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 Type: Female Petroicidae (Robins)
Common Name:  Flame Robin
Scientific Name:  Petroica phoenicea
Source: Phillip Island, J. Clarke WPSP

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 Type: Male Petroicidae (Robins)
Common Name:  Flame Robin
Scientific Name:  Petroica phoenicea
Source: Phillip Island, J. Clarke WPSP

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 Type: Artamidae (Butcherbirds / Currawongs)
Common Name:  Australian Magpie
Scientific Name:  Gymnorhina tibicen
Source: Phillip Island, J. Clarke WPSP

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 Type: Muscicapidae (Thrushes / Starlings)
Common Name:  Eurasian Blackbird (Introduced)
Scientific Name:  Turdus merula
Source: Phillip Island, J. Clarke WPSP

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 Type: Ardeidae  (Herons, Egrets, Bitterns)
Common Name:  White Faced Heron
Scientific Name:  Egretta novaehollandiae
Source: Phillip Island, J. Clarke WPSP

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 Type: Charadriidae (Lapwings / Plovers)
Common Name:  Masked Lapwing
Scientific Name:  Vanellus miles– (novaehollandiae)
Source: Phillip Island, J. Clarke WPSP

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TERRESTRIAL / CATCHMENT FAUNA

Annelida

 Type: Annelida (Worms)
Common Name:  Giant Gippsland Earthworm
Scientific Name:  Megascolides australis
Source: Bass Valley, B. Van Praagh Invert Eco

Only found in the Bass River Catchment, these 2 metre earthworms are fragile and even gentle handling causes bruising and death.

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Mammalia

 Type: Monotremes
Common Name:  Echidna
Scientific Name:  Tachyglossus aculeatus
Source: Phillip Island, J.Clarke WPSP

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 Type: Marsupials
Common Name:  Koala
Scientific Name:  Phascolarctos cinereus
Source: Phillip Island, J. Clarke WPSP

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 Type: Marsupials / Kangaroos & Wallabies
Common Name:  Swamp Wallaby
Scientific Name:  Wallabia bicolor
Source: Phillip Island, J.Clarke WPSP

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 Type: Marsupials / Wombats
Common Name:  Baby Common Wombat (rescued)
Scientific Name:  Vombatus ursinus
Source: Bass Valley, P.Westwood Friends of Bass Valley Bush Inc .

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 Type:   Marsupials / Possums
Common Name:  Bobuck (Mountain Brush Tail Possum)
Scientific Name:  Trichosurus caninus
Source: Bass Valley, P.Westwood Friends of Bass Valley Bush Inc.

NB: This is a very rare sighting, the first confirmed sighting in area for 20 years.

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Reptilia

 Type: Reptiles
Common Name:  Monitor Lizard
Scientific Name:  Varanus varius
Source: Bass Valley, P.Westwood Friends of Bass Valley Bush Inc .

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Fauna Categories and Identification Resources

To assist with the identification of animal species found in the Western Port region we have provided some typical categories (classes) of animals and the families of animals found within these categories.  Where possible we have provided both the scientific names and the common names to make it easier for your to narrow down your identification choices.

In addition to this we have provided an extract of the key regional species listed in the Biosphere application which should provide good guidance to the species likely to be found in the region.

Fauna Species List

We have also provided some links to a number of web sites that provide helpful guides and indexes of animal species, many of which contain species names, descriptions and photographs. These should prove helpful in identifying the species you have discovered and photographed in the region.

Finally we have provided a few hints on how to go about identifying species in the field and checking on your determinations.

Fauna Categories and Identification Resources

Once you have photographed and identified what you believe the species to be, you are ready to submit it to us for inclusion on this web site.

Contribute a species 

Leafy Seadragon footage courtesy Dr Julian Finn - Museum Victoria

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