Australian Aquatic Biological

Australian aquatic biodiversity research and consultancy

Mount Windsor Tableland, Queensland

Mount Windsor Tableland west of Daintree, Qld

A preliminary survey of the Mt Windsor Tableland was conducted in July 2011. The tableland is mostly National Park and closed to the general public so we contacted DERM at Mossman to gain entrance. The Parks personnel at Mossman were fantastic, they were communicative and helpful and after the debacle with the Alligator Creek rangers at Townsville this was a very encouraging. They gave us keys to the gates, offered us accommodation in the barracks and really went out of their way to help. I can’t speak more highly of them and we are very grateful for their support.

Paul unlocks the gate to this remote National Park


We stayed in the barracks 1066m altitude






                               We turned off the Peninsula Developmental Road in the afternoon and headed the 50km up the valley then up onto the tableland. The tableland is high over 1000m so very interesting survey area for us. We spotlighted streams on the way in and baited with meat on string a section of the Palmer River at 1157 metres which looked absolutely perfect.

Rob and Paul surveying the Windsor Tableland streams.

The Tableland streams were perfect for crayfish. They were permanent, clear flowing forest streams that were a pleasure to survey. Despite our best efforts we were unable to find and freshwater crayfish.

Streams we surveyed between 1000-1200m varied from large and wide


To small and fast flowing

It was a fantastic area to survey and though we did not find any crayfish most of the other creatures we found were large and unusual.

Huge tadpoles were common

Intriguingly there were burrows along some of the rainforest stream edges. These burrows were 30-40mm diameter and 300-600mm deep. If we see a burrow we excavate it to see who’s in residence but when we dug these all we found were giant dragon fly larvae. These were huge and they had dug their own burrows. I checked with the Qld Museum and they identified them as Petalura ingentissima the giant petaltail.

Petalura ingentissima the giant petaltail.


Petalura ingentissima larvae - grows into the world largest dragon fly.

Petalura ingentissima larvae – grows into the worlds largest dragon fly.

Once again our thanks to all the DERM Mossman personnel, their help, assistance and hospitality was greatly appreciated.

PS These little gems were on the wall of the Barracks and I just had to share them with you.

From the wall of the Mt Windsor barracks

From the wall of the Mt Windsor barracks


Research & Aquaculture Director for Australian Aquatic Biological P/L
Team Leader for The Australian Crayfish Project
Director of Mid West Yabby & Fish Traders and RBM Aquaculture
Secretary of NSW Aquaculture Assoc Inc
Research Associate for Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Honorary Research Fellow, Queensland Museum

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Tagged , ,


  1. LisaMay 1, 2017 at 1:02 pmReply

    What frog did the giant tadpoles belong to? We found a heap of them too and are curious.

    • Robert McCormackMay 1, 2017 at 1:34 pmReply

      Hi Lisa,
      sorry, Im not much help,
      we never identified any of the tadpoles

  2. AaronDecember 22, 2017 at 11:46 amReply

    The tadpoles look like they belong to the Carbine Barred Frog (Mixophyes carbinensis). This species is only known from high elevations on the Carbine and Windsor tablelands.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


nine + nine =

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.