Bush Blitz is Australia’s largest species discovery project, providing support, leadership, and expertise for groundbreaking research expeditions. Since launching in 2010 they have discovered more than 1600 new species and added thousands of species records to those already known.

In December 2018, Bush Blitz led an expedition to protected areas in and around the ACT. The primary aims were to collect plants and animals that could facilitate the discovery of new species, add to existing collections, and provide information to support land management and conservation. Having this expedition so close to the nation’s capital also allowed Bush Blitz to promote the importance of biodiversity and taxonomic research to the government.

Focusing on the remote parts of Namadgi National Park via helicopter, the surveys and collections allowed knowledge gaps to be filled, important materials for future genetic and taxonomic studies to be collected, the known ranges of species to be extended, and several new species to be discovered. Highlights from this Bush Blitz included:

  • At least 21 insect species new to science—3 fly, 4 wasp, 2 treehopper and 12 jumping plant lice.
  • A total of 24 frog specimens collected, all with associated tissue samples for molecular analysis, plus many with male advertisement call recordings; significant in resolving the systematics and taxonomy of frogs in eastern Australia.
  • The rediscovery of a jumping plant lice species (Trioza banksiae) that had not been collected since its description in 1903.
  • Vouchers, with tissue samples, from 21 species of reptiles filled a large gap in sampling. Some specimens may belong to an as-yet-unnamed species of water skink, and these samples will be important for formally describing the taxa.
  • New site records and important extant refuge populations documented for Mountain Galaxias (Galaxias olidus), Alpine Spiny Crayfish (Euastacus crassus) and Riek’s Crayfish (Euastacus rieki).
  • Valuable location and abundance information for vascular plant species that had not been collected nor observed in 30 years.
  • An incredible diversity of spiders collected (still being examined), which is likely to yield a number of species new to science.

All this from an 11-day Bush Blitz!