Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment

Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment

New species discovered on Kimberley Bush Blitz

Media release
3 June 2014

A possible new species of rainbow fish, a new species of wolf spider that thinks it’s a water spider, and new species of pseudoscorpion, a tiny little creature that that looks like a scorpion but isn’t, are among numerous new species found on a Bush Blitz expedition in the Kimberley this week.

“The team believes they’ve found a number of species that could be completely new to science and a butterfly that is a new record for Western Australia. This is the first new record of butterfly in Western Australia for about 10 years,” said Senator Simon Birmingham, Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment.

“Traditional owners and science teachers joined more than a dozen scientists on the expedition, held on the Indigenous Land Corporation’s Karunjie and Durack stations.

“Indigenous knowledge has been instrumental in the Kimberley blitz, with the Ngarinyin people helping researchers select survey sites. Traditional owners have also used their skills in contemporary survey techniques, helping to net fish, set small mammal traps and wield insect nets.

“Over the last four years Bush Blitz has discovered more than 700 new species, and provided crucial biodiversity data to help conservation managers look after their land and the incredible variety of plants and animals it contains,” he said.

Cassandra Nichols, Director of Programs for Earthwatch Australia said five teachers had joined the blitz from schools across the country, as part of the Bush Blitz Teach Live project.

“The Kimberley blitz is the second time we’ve involved teachers in an expedition through the Bush Blitz Teach Live project, and it was a huge success,” Ms Nichols said.

“The excitement of the teachers has been tangible, and they’re passing that enthusiasm for nature straight back to their students, through blogs, communication forums and Skype,” Ms Nichols said.

“With the blitz happening during Reconciliation Week, Aboriginal culture and knowledge was a strong theme for the teachers, and they’ve enjoyed learning from the Ngarinyin people on site.”

Bush Blitz is a partnership between the Australian Government, BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities and Earthwatch Australia. The innovative program sends scientists out into the field to record the fascinating plants and animals in conservation areas across Australia.

The Kimberley expedition was run in partnership with the Kimberley Land Council and the Indigenous Land Corporation.
Simon Birmingham