ZOOL20006: Australian Wildlife Biology exam review


So yesterday I sat my last paper which was for Australian Wildlife Biology, and like the other exam I did last week for Animal Structure and Function, here’s my review of the paper.

This exam is 2 hours and was worth 50%. It’s all short answer, no multiple choice. If memory serves me right, there were 14 questions.

I thought it was a fair paper. But I felt like I’ve studied the wrong things, and I just couldn’t remember the little things like common names etc. So, a bit disappointed, but it’s all over now! And overall, I think I did ok.

For those thinking for majoring in zoology, I will be writing some full subject reviews when I’ve got more time, plus I still planning to write some review for the UMSU counter handbook. But all I can say now is that Aus Wildlife is GOOD! I’ve really enjoyed it, workload is not extreme (like in structure and function), the pracs are enjoyable too.

Anyways, this post is for those people doing ZOOL20004 next year. Here are some things that popped up on my exam.

You need to know the main mammal groups


You need to know Monotremes, Marsupials, and Eutherians. From the exam paper, you don’t need to know the crazy science names (like in Animal Structure Function), and I wished someone had told me that! They gave you the option to answer the questions with the common name or scientific name. So as long as you got some examples under your sleeve, that’s good!

Plus, the subject coordinator loves her Monotremes (Platypus especially). So it’s almost guaranteed that the exam will have monotreme questions, and of course the lectures and exam paper is slightly biased toward monotremes.


Screen Shot 2013-06-25 at 12.39.27 PM

Echindas and Platypus were in the exam (of course).

The question asked you to compare the 2 monotreme (platypus and echidna) species’ habitat distribution, seasonal pattern or something like that.

FYI – the lectures didn’t cover much on echidnas. So when the question mention echidna, I died a little on the inside.


Screen Shot 2013-06-25 at 12.44.25 PM

The 3 main marsupials covered were possums, macropods (kangaroos, rat kangas, potoroos) and koalas.


You need to have a couple of specific common names for possums under your sleeve. The question asked about ecological and morphological differences between possums and you have to give examples.

So ecological differences – they’re found in many different habitats and are widely distributed. And morphological differences – some are big (brushtails), some glide (sugar gliders) and some are small (pygmy).


There was also another questions about feral goats and wallaroo. And when I saw this, I think I died even more on the inside! This one was worth 7.5 marks, A LOT compared to the other ones (2.5 marks). First of, we didn’t even covered these guys in the lectures (well…wallaroos are macropods, so I guess it was technically covered). But I think the purpose of this question was testing our ability to apply our knowledge in a different context.

The questions asked you to compare their reproduction, locomotion, conservations status etc. Let’s just say that I guess a lot of it.


The question asked what were the differences between koalas found in the north and south regions – and WHY.

In north – they have smaller body size, shorter and lighter fur

In south – they have larger body size, longer and darker fur


Cute Mouse4

We mainly covered Rodents, aka rats and mice.

I can’t remember what the question asked, but there was a questions about rats in there!

Gondwanan species


Oh goodie. The question asked you to name an ancestral animal, and where else it occurs. And it also asked you to name a recent animal that arrived in the Australia, pre-European.

So I said Platypus as the ancestral animal – fossil records suggest that they used to occur in South America.

And for the recent animal – I said Rodents. They invaded Australia when the Asia and Australian continental plates collided 15-20 MYA.

Catadromous fish


Question asked you to name a catadromous fish, give an example (barramundi/short finned eel) and explain the life cycle (I think), and why does it migrate.

So catadromous migration is where fish swim from freshwater to saltwater. They migrate to spawn and reproduce.


Screen Shot 2013-06-25 at 1.21.15 PM

Endemism vs Diversity – the difference between them

Frogs in different climates high and low endemism


WTSP color band

I was very disappointed that there weren’t many bird questions!

Question was about the bird bands – the advantages over the coloured ones over the metal ones. And what information has the bird studies given us.


Questions include:

  • Costs and benefits of sociality in reptiles (skinks/egernia)
  • Which group of reptiles is completely legless
  • The 4 groups of lizards – Geckos, Skinks, Goannas, and Dragons
  • The characteristics shared by goannas and snakes


Name a virus, and the impact on the animal etc.

Quick tips for the exam

1. Keep an eye on time.

2. Remember you have to start a new page with a new question.

3. Always remember a couple of common animal names of each group

And lastly, if you are thinking of doing zoology as a major or just love animals. I highly recommend BIOL10001: Australia Flora and Fauna or this subject. (Do flora and fauna first – you will get an advantage in this subject). It will come in handy!

Anways, I’m going out to watch Despicable me 2 to forget my exam sorrows.

Over and out.


4 thoughts on “ZOOL20006: Australian Wildlife Biology exam review

  1. What a co-incidence; this way my breadth subject! I found the exam to be at a reasonable level of difficulty and was reasonably happy with how I did; I agree, the Wallaroo question was a tough one! I must say, I really enjoyed the subject, it was great to have it taught by such passionate people.

    1. Oh no way! :D

      Yeah this subject has been great! I love Kath and her quirky ways, and Graeme is amazing too! Can’t wait to have him again for ecology next semester. I’m glad to hear that you went well with the exam! Fingers crossed for when we get our marks back.

      Daph :)

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