Go to Home Page
Go to Series 1
Go to Series 2
Go to Series 3
Go to About  Mark
Go to Herpetology
FAQ
Target Species: Broad-headed snake Hoplocephalus bungaroides & Blue Mountain funnel-web spider Hadronyche versuta
Location: Morton and Blue Mountains National Parks, New South Wales, Australia
Director: David Wright


Location: Sydney and surrounding area, New South Wales.

Mission Statement:

Mark investigates the threats faced by the venomous Broad-headed snake, one of Australia’s most endangered snake species. Confined to the Hawkesbury sandstone ridges of New South Wales, most of its former range is now buried under an expanding Sydney. Unfortunately bush-rock collectors and other habitat disturbance further threaten the few locations where it still survives. Mark’s aim is to investigate the current status of the Broad-headed snake on ridges in the Morton National Park, south of Sydney, where Jonathan Webb has previously carried out extensive fieldwork. They then plan to use a helicopter to survey remote sandstone outcrops for isolated populations that may serve as a safe-havens for the species’ survival in the wild.
Secondary mission statement: The Sydney funnel-web spider, Atrax robustus, is thought to be the most venomous spider in the world but to the west of Sydney, in the forests of the Blue Mountains, lives a much larger species of funnel-web spider. Ros Whitten and Mark set out to capture a specimen for the Australian Reptile Park, the only place in the world that extracts venom from funnel-web spiders to produce the antivenom required to save the lives of Sydney-siders bitten by them.


The Broad-headed snake (Hoplocephalus bungaroides) raises and flattens its neck when threatened.

Species recorded during'On The Edge'

Species Common Name
MYOBATRACHIDAE SOUTHERN FROGS
Crinia signifera Common froglet
Limnodynastes peronii Brown striped frog
Limnodynastes tasmaniensis Spotted grass frog
Uperoleia laevigata Smooth toadlet
HYLIDAE TREEFROGS
Litoria infrafrenata Green and golden bell frog
Litoria jervisiensis Jervis bay treefrog
DIPLODACTYLIDAE SOUTHWEST PACIFIC GECKOES
Oedura lesueurii Lesueur's velvet gecko
SCINCIDAE SKINKS
Bassiana platynota Red-throated cool skink
Cryptoblepharus virgatus Cream-striped snake-eyed skink
Ctenotus robustus Robust ctenotus
Ctenotus taeniolatus Copper-tailed ctenotus
Lampropholis delicata Dark-flecked garden sun skink
Tiliqua scincoides scincoides Eastern blue-tongue skink
PYTHONIDAE PYTHONS
Morelia spilota spilota Diamond python
ELAPIDAE COBRAS & THEIR KIN
Demansia psammophis psammophis Eastern yellow-faced whipsnake
Hoplocephalus bungaroides Broad-headed snake
Pseudechis porphyriacus Red-bellied blacksnake
Rhinoplocephalus nigrescens Eastern small-eyed snake

 


Location: Morton National Park, NSW (original range of Broad-headed snake in red).


Location: Blue Mountains National Park, NSW (range of Blue Mt. funnel-web spider in red).

 

 


Mark O’Shea and Australian herpetologist Jonathan Webb prepare to fly to remote Hawkesbury sandstone ridges.

 

 


Broad-headed snakes live under shallow flat rocks on the very edge of precipices, where they hunt velvet geckoes (Oedura lesueurii).

 

 


O’Shea and ARP spider expert Ros Whitten search rotten logs in ancient forest for funnel-web spiders.

 

 


A large female Blue Mountain funnel-web spider (Hadronyche versuta). Unlike the Sydney funnel-web (Atrax robustus), the female is thought the more dangerous.

 


02:01 - 02:02 - 02:03 - 02:04 - 02:05 - 02:06 - 02:07 - 02:08 - 02:09 - 02:10 - 02:11 - 02:12 - 02:13