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Since 2007 Dr Christine Lambkin, Dr Robert Raven and Dr Barbara Baehr, Queensland Museum Biodiversity Department have been working with the then Cooper Basin Natural History Society (now OGF) and the local community of the lower Cooper Creek Basin.
Collection skills have been passed onto both adults and children and through regular workshops and information days run by OGF with the scientific backing of the Qld Museum. This has resulted in a very comphensive Arid Zone Butterfly Collection and a developing general entomology collection. Butterflies are known indicators of the health of an ecosystem.
In April 2011 a workshop was run in Eromanga. This workshop was designed to show landholders and other targeted groups in the Lower Cooper Creek Basin how to assess their biodiversity over a long period of time. This is a QM and OGF initiative to further help develop the local knowledge in a community who has shown great responsibility in managing their environment to date and into the future.
This valuable entomology collection will continue to develop, require further study and will be housed in the Eromanga Natural History Museum. Currently it is stored at the Outback Gondwana Field Station west of Eromanga in entomology cases donated to the Foundation by the old DPI at Indooroopilly.
A new species of Australian Beefly, Palirika mackenziei, found on Plevna Downs has been scientifically described and named after Collections Manager, Robyn Mackenzie.
The beefly was originally captured during a December 2008 trip to Quilpie and Eromanga by Qld Museum Curator of Entomology, Dr Christine Lambkin and her research partner Noel Starick. They used a combination of sweep nets and Maliase traps set up on mesa tops.
In 2008/2009 Dr. Christine Lambkin from the Queensland Museum and Robyn Mackenzie undertook a trapping program that collected many Goblin Spider specimens from the environs of Plevna Downs. These tiny spiders are only 1-2 mm in length and as yet, have no specific names, but there are known to belong to five different genera. These specimens are part of the Invertebrate Collection currently housed at the OGF field station.
Dr Barbara Baehr, Queensland Museum, reveals more about the spider family Oonopidae …
We call them ‘megadiverse’, because there are hundreds of species and ‘micro-distributed’, because they live in very small habitats, sometimes no bigger than our backyards. We call them an ‘unknown family’, because in Australia there are only eight species described and hundreds of them are yet to be named.
Most of the species live in leaf litter or under bark. They have adapted to very harsh conditions by developing scutae (hard plates on the top and bottom of their abdomen), to protect them against dryness
Why is it so important to identify the ‘Goblin Spiders’? We need to know about the environment and all the species that inhabit it, otherwise we can’t see how we impact that environment.
In this fast moving world it is easy to forget such little creatures as ‘Goblin Spiders’ but thanks to the National Science Foundation they have their very own ‘Goblin Spider Team’ on the case.
To learn more go to: Goblin Spider Planetary Diversity Inventory
Trap door spider
Information will be added as the scientific work is completed