Specimen of the month

The cane toad (Rhinella marina) is a large species of toad originally from South America, but now found throughout the Pacific, the Caribbean and tropical areas of north-eastern New South Wales, Queensland and across northern Australia. Cane toads famously have poison glands that exude a...

This month’s specimen is the Long-nosed Bandicoot, known scientifically as Perameles nasuta. The name translates from Greek and Latin as ‘long-nosed pouched badger’ – but of course, bandicoots are marsupials, raising their young in a pouch (incidentally, the common name ‘bandicoot’ comes from a large...

This wonderful old display specimen from the UNE Natural History Museum is a teaching tool that has allowed generations of students to see the forelimb structure and pectoral girdle of the short-beaked echidna – Australia’s only echidna species, and one of two monotremes (egg-laying mammals)...

Don’t be fooled (did you see what I did there?) by the beauty of the textile cone – like all cone snails, they are predatory, using their harpoon-like radula to pierce their prey – mostly other snails – immobilising them with an injection of powerful...

These specimens are used entirely for teaching, allowing zoology students to see up close the structure of the bill of different water birds. The great strength of natural history collections – including our wonderful UNE Natural History Museum – is that they allow people to...

Big, hairy and scary, and with venom to match its fierceness, the name ‘formidabilis’ was well chosen for this impressive spider that rears up to display its fangs when confronted. They’re not bluffing either – their venom is similar to the related Sydney funnel-web spider...

This distinctive-looking little shark, with a black face bands and saddle-like body markings is native to Australian waters. It grows to 1.6-m in length, but is harmless to humans – a man bitten in 2011 in Victoria was able to continue swimming and wander from...

The University of New England (UNE) recently unveiled what could be Australia’s oldest thong as the latest addition to its antiquities collection.The acquisition of the ancient Egyptian footwear marks the celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the UNE Museum of Antiquities in Armidale, Australia's first...

The UNE Natural History Museum’s latest addition, a Southern Cassowary, Casuaris casuaris johnsonii arrived in Armidale in October and has been patiently waiting for a name....