Number of putative new species discovered on Bush Blitz expeditions


Moths collected on the Oxley Wild Rivers survey, 2015
Only a third of approximately 300 moth species collected on the Oxley Wild Rivers Bush Blitz could be readily identified to species. Determining which of the remainder are new, and which are merely undescribed, would be a herculean task.

Taxonomic breakdown of putative new species

Spiders occupy the number one spot on the Bush Blitz chart (see table below), followed by true bugs and moths; 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 (approximately 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 described) have not yielded as many new species on Bush Blitz expeditions, because of lower survey effort and/or a shortage of taxonomic resources.

True bugs-terrestrial462
Jumping plantlice128
Vascular plants34
Snails and slugs-terrestrial27
Cicadas, horned treehoppers, leafhoppers and planthoppers6
Flatworms [Phylum Platyhelminthes]5
Mites and ticks2
Segmented worms [Phylum Annelida]2
Microwhip scorpions [Order Palpigradi]2
Non-vascular plants2
Tailless whip scorpion1
Frogs and toads1
Damselflies and dragonflies1

What about the vertebrates?

Compared to invertebrates, the terrestrial vertebrate fauna of Australia is well known. However, DNA samples and specimens taken on Bush Blitz expeditions should help resolve the taxonomy of some species complexes of reptiles, frogs, fishes and even mammals, resulting in the description of new species.

Breakdown of putative new species by expedition

Charles Darwin, Kadji Kadji, Karara and Lochada Reserves WA, 200939
North-western NSW and Southern Qld, 2009-1010
Darkwood Reserve NSW, 20106
Egg Islands, Flat Rock, Lower Porter Hill and Porter Hill, Murphys Flat, Seventeen Mile Plain and Vale of Belvoir Reserves Tas, 201021
Wet Tropics (Brooklyn, Cloudland and Melsonby [Gaarraay] Nature Refuges, Eubenngee Swamp, Hann Tableland and Melsonby [Gaarraay] National Parks, and Upper Bridge Creek Qld), 201036
Witchelina Reserve SA, 2010119
Bon Bon Station Reserve SA, 2010127
Central NSW (Dananbilla, Illunie and Koorawatha Nature Reserves NSW), 201035
Neds Corner Station Vic, 201021
Lake Condah (Kurtonitj, Lake Condah and Tyrendarra Indigenous Protected Areas Vic), 201118
Cane River Conservation Park WA, 201161
Credo Station Reserve WA, 2011140
Skullbone Plains Tas, 201219
Fish River Station NT, 201261
Wongalara Sanctuary NT, 201227
Hiltaba Nature Reserve and Gawler Ranges National Park SA, 201280
Henbury Station NT, 201311
Namadgi National Park ACT and Kosciuszko National Park NSW, 201369
Five Rivers Reserve and trawtha makuminya Tasmania, 201418
Flinders Island Tasmania, 201439
Durack River and Karunjie Stations Western Australia, 201441
Carnarvon Station Reserve, Queensland, 2014127
Tarkine Tasmania, 201534
Olkola Country, Queensland, 201557
Judbarra / Gregory National Park, Northern Territory, 201529
Kiwirrkurra IPA, WA, 201542
Southwest National Park, Tas, 201664
Oxley Wild Rivers, NSW, 20155
Bruny Island, Tasmania, 201563
Coral Sea, 20162
Lake Torrens, South Australia, 201642
Croajingolong National Park, Victoria, 201625
Quinkan Country, Queensland, 2017128
Bradshaw, NT, 201715
Mungo National Park, NSW, 201732
Great Victoria Desert, SA, 201750
Protected areas of the ACT 201822
Cape Range, WA, 201945