In July 2002 the International Society on Toxinology combined their Asia-Pacific Congress with the annual meeting of the Australasian College of Tropical Medicine in Cairns, North Queensland, Australia.

I attended the meeting to present a poster on snakebite research in Papua New Guinea, and to meet up with Dr Wolfgang Wüster who with Ronelle Welton, a colleague of mine from James Cook University, was coming with me to Papua New Guinea the following week to catch Papuan taipans for Ronelle's studies on Oxyuranus spp venoms.

In Cairns we also met up with Dr Bryan Fry and his wife Alexia, and with Dr Zoltan Takacs, yet another intrepid venom researcher.

The following are some of the photographs taken while we were all together in Cairns ... just to prove that we're not really stuffy academics!

FROM LEFT: David Williams, Wolfgang Wüster, Bryan Fry and Zoltan Takacs at the grave of the late Kevin Budden, who died in 1950 capturing the first taipan to be used in antivenom production

The same foursome returning from a spotlighting trip later that night with various arachnids, insects and reptile specimens for Byran's research projects

A nocturnal whistling spider (Selenocosmia spp)

As BGF put it ... "the centipede from hell"

ABOVE: The dreaded "centipede from hell" - subsequently absconded while being photographed by two prominent herpetologists. It would be extremely unethical for me to name any names, but needless to say the "escape" caused significant mirth.


LEFT: Bryan attempts to coax the centipede off Zoltan's boot and into an empty 35mm film canister. Due to the spontaneity of our decision to hit the roads in search of herps, we somehow neglected to take both sufficient snake bags and arachnid containers... needless to say improvisation saved the night!

A small amethystine python (Morelia amethistina) was the most notable snake observed during two nights of winter road cruising.

Who would believe that four highly experienced herpetologists would find themselves without a snake bag between them? Luckily that's what the zip-off legs of cargo pants are designed for!!

Bryan, David and Wolfgang kicking back after a hard-nights herping. Dr Gabrielle Hawdon (AVRU) is advising us of the risks that come with partaking of BGF's truly excellent Montecristo No.1's. 

Bryan and Wolfgang helping Ronelle Welton take the weight off after a long day of conference room talks, professional networking and decadent end-of-meeting partying.

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