A group prepares for a reef walk in the tidal pools off Ned’s Beach with naturalist in residence Ian Hutton.
Author and naturalist Ian Hutton leads groups on eco-tours of the island.
Ian Hutton holds up a black sea cucumber. Latin name: Holothuria leucospilota.
Black sea cucumbers make for a rather unpleasant interactive experience.
A turban snail pokes out of its home. Latin name: Turbo cepoides.
A turban snail retreats back into its shell, sealing itself off from potential predators.
Underbelly of a brittle star. Its limbs are regenerative and can be cast off at the first sign of danger or injury.
A brittle star shows its limbs at various stages of regeneration.
A sea cucumber and a brittle star.
Burrowing clam at Ned’s beach.
Red tipped sea urchin. Latin name: Heliocidaris tuberculata.
Ian Hutton investigates a red tipped sea urchin.
This red tipped sea urchin continued undulate its spines while resting in our palms.
A type of sea slug known as a Sea Hare. Latin name: Aplysia dactylomela.
Underbellies of a pair of turtle weed crabs. Latin name: Caphyra rotundifrons.
Burrowing clam at Ned’s Beach.
Coronated cone. Latin name: Conus coranatus.
Lord Howe Island’s extreme isolation and relatively late discovery by humans has preserved much of its pristine landscape and spectacular wildlife. Located roughly 450 miles northeast of Sydney, the island was first discovered by the British Royal Navy in 1788. Unlike many other Pacific island groups, the flora and fauna of Lord Howe were able to evolve undisturbed by humans well into modern history. While some of the endemic species have been gobbled up or driven off by a persistent rat population – descendants of the stowaways from a 19th century shipwreck – much biodiversity remains, including the Lord Howe land lobster, recently rediscovered on the neighboring volcanic stack known as Ball’s Pyramid. In recognition of its “spectacular topography and…numerous endemic species,” the Lord Howe Island group was inducted into UNESCO’s World Heritage ranks in 2007.