BioBlitz Schools Day

Bega River BioBlitz
16-18 August 2019
National Science Week

Friday 16th August was Schools’ Day at the National Science Week event in Bega. Groups of enthusiastic young people from across the region were involved, helping to launch the Bega River BioBlitz.

The groups searched the riverside vegetation corridor, hunting out insects, spiders and more. They also sampled the river, finding and identifying a wide range of insects and other ‘waterbugs’.

Here are just some of their discoveries! Clicking on a photo will open the NatureMapr record and identification details.

Searching on land

Some of the animals were found hidden away within a covered pile of composting vegetation. This spot was warm and moist. Many of these animals were predators, such as the skink, the spiders, and flatworms. They were no doubt taking advantage of the abundance of amphipods and other tiny animals.

Mumbulla Class 4 found …

Wolumla Public School found …

Mumbulla Class 5 …

… lifted the bark on a rotting log and discovered a whole ecosystem, including some hugely fat worms, overwintering beetles and wasps, and detritivores such as millipedes and slaters.

The next day …

Stuart Harris led another group around the same area - and discovered a few more to add to the list for the BioBlitz.

Sampling for ‘waterbugs’

With nets, sorting trays and field guides, the groups sampled a shallow stretch of the Bega River. The diversity of animals surprised many. There were insects, crustaceans, molluscs and worms. Many of the insects were larvae – such as the numerous mayfly and beetle larvae – while a few inhabit the water as adults, such as the Diving Beetles (Coleoptera) and Water Boatmen (Hemiptera). And someone caught mayflies in the act of departing their aquatic world, emerging into the air as winged adults!

Thanks to everyone involved, including the following survey leaders and naturalists for their assistance:

Jules Donne and Luke Brown (BEEC teachers and survey leaders); Doug Record (BEEC Principal, and overall coordinator); and Stuart Harris, Paul Whitington, Kerri-Lee Harris (naturalists and citizen scientists, and assistants on the day).

Interested in learning more about the aquatic animals? Check out the excellent resources and tools available through the National Waterbug Blitz website. In particular, the ALT guide is a wonderful resource for identification, as is the Waterbug App. And they’re both free online!

snapshotsPaul Whitington