Bush Blitz is a fantastic federal government and privately funded initiative that is now secure till at least 2017 and involves a large demographic of people all collecting and identifying flora and fauna across the country. Hundreds of new species have been identified recently through the Bush Blitz initiative (600+) and even a new Genus of spider has been found here in Tasmania. 75% of Australia's flora and fauna have not been identified. So its exciting work and rewarding to all. The process of identifying a new spider is via its genatalia. The males bits are cut off, coated in gold then scanning electron microscope. The female spider genitals are put in acid to make their genitals transparent. And then put under magnification. Its expensive equipment. But, its how you tell one spider from another type of spider.
Spider hunting is an unusual occupation.
Robert Beeton discovered a new spider
PHOTO: Robert Beeton has discovered a new genus of spider. (Supplied: Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre)
AUDIO: 12 year-old Robert Beeton has discovered a new genus of spider in Tasmania (ABC Rural)
But for one 12-year-old boy in north west Tasmania it has led to an incredible discovery.
Robert Beeton was taking part in Bush Blitz, a program aimed at discovering and naming animals all over Australia, when he stumbled upon a brand new genus.
"I've liked spiders since I was really little," he said.
"Gotta do what I do best."
He was on an Aboriginal youth camp, working with scientists and other enthusiasts to discover the undiscovered, when he came across what is now known as the paruwi spider.
Not only an undiscovered species, but an undiscovered genus, which he was then allowed to name.
"It was big and ugly, kind of dark, and it had tiger stripes," he said.
He was the one kid who was out the front, pulling up bark, looking underneath things.
Jo Harding, manager of Bush Blitz
"Paruwi is the north-west Tasmanian Aboriginal name for beetle, and I named it that because it was my dad's nickname."
The Bush Blitz program has announced a further $12 million in Commonwealth and private funding that will ensure its continuation until at least 2017.
Manager Jo Harding says in the last four years 700 new species have been discovered in Australia. "It's quite amazing to think that a country like Australia has about 75 per cent of its biodiversity unknown," she said. "I was down in Tasmania with Robert as we were walking around looking for bugs and spiders together, and he was the one kid who was out the front, pulling up bark, looking underneath things," she said.
She says scientist Robert Raven and the rest of the team were tired and ready to go home, until Robert pointed out the spectacular specimen under a piece of bark. "When Robert Raven saw what it was he just said 'Oh my God!'."Ms Harding says Bush Blitz aims to get land owners and managers involved.
"Bush Blitz supports a whole lot of different non-government organisations, as well as property owners," she said. "We don't just go and collect data that we want, we actually go onto these properties and collect data that's useful for the land managers too.
"That way they can better manage their properties, manage those species and continue to protect them.
"We have a saying at Bush Blitz: 'If you don't know what you've got, you can't protect it'."
http://blog.parksaustralia.gov.au/2014/ ... -tasmania/
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-22/n ... tz/5615440
Environment and sustainability in Tasmania
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