Number of putative new species discovered on Bush Blitz expeditions
Taxonomic breakdown of putative new species
True bugs occupy the number one spot on the Bush Blitz chart (see table below), followed by spiders, moths and bees; vascular plants are also in the mix.
The number of putative new species is a function of how poorly known a group is, in relation to its total richness, as well as of survey effort and the availability of taxonomic resources. True bugs score highly partly because they are not well known (~2,500 species have been described, out of a total fauna estimated at between 6,500 and 20,000 species), but also because they have been collected on almost every Bush Blitz, and because there is at present in Australia a core of true bug taxonomists with the time and expertise to identify the specimens brought in. Other groups that are even more diverse and less well known than true bugs (e.g. beetles, with ~23,000 of the estimated 80-100,000 Australian species decribed) have not yielded as many new species on Bush Blitz expeditions, because of lower survey effort and/or a shortage of taxonomic resources.
|TAXONOMIC GROUP||PUTATIVE NEW SPECIES|
|Snails and slugs—terrestrial||19|
|Flatworms [Phylum Platyhelminthes]||4|
|Mites and ticks||2|
|Cicadas, horned treehoppers, leafhoppers and planthoppers||2|
|Segmented worms [Phylum Annelida]||2|
|Microwhip scorpions [Order Palpigradi]||1|
What about the vertebrates?
We haven’t yet discovered any new mammals, birds, reptiles or frogs on Bush Blitz expeditions. We have discovered a beautiful fish though.
Compared to invertebrates, the terrestrial vertebrate fauna of Australia is well known. However, DNA samples taken on Bush Blitz expeditions should help resolve the taxonomy of some species complexes of reptiles, frogs and even mammals, resulting in the description of new species.
Breakdown of putative new species by expedition