Little Desert National Park VIC Bush Blitz | Oct 2018

Today I went out with Team Snail to discover that yes, even deserts have snails. I learned so much (as usual) including that probably every snail you find on land that has been changed by humans (farms, towns, gardens) has no native snails, only introduced snails. To find native snails, you need to go to the bush, and any bush will do, even deserts, as snails are all over Australia. They are not fast moving, admittedly, but they are hard to find. To discover them, you need to do all the things you are told not to do when walking in the bush - walk through scrub where you can't see your feet, near wet areas if possible, overturn logs and sift through leaf litter with your fingers.

Surprisingly, none of us came to harm, and instead we found about 10 snails from two different species. They are small (3 mm) and the same colour as bark. They attach to the underside of logs and leaves and really, at times, resemble either possum poo or gum nuts. The scientists I was working with today plan to collect DNA from as many of the snail families as possible in Australia to identify more precisely if and how the snails are related. Snails can act as indicators of healthy and old environments, and are so important, as well as interesting.

While I was out, I had a personalised lecture on Conservation Biology from one of Victoria's experts, Adam from the Melbourne Museum which gave me a whole new perspective on how ecology works. And I caught a grasshopper that the entomology experts were happy to add to their collection.

Tomorrow, insects! Can't wait.