Rare, interesting and unusual arthropods in South Australia

Having seen a couple of allusions on iNat to South Australia being boring arthropod-wise and:
being on my L-plates with limited knowledge but boundless interest -
Could we have on the forum a ‘what to look out for this month?’ or similar article that highlights what arthropods I, and other budding naturalists, might look out for? Of course this would need some generous person with the knowledge to construct it, but it would be a great incentive, I think, to look out for exceptional creatures and, hopefully, add to the data available on their distribution. Thank you.

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Orthoptera are always good in Australia. Crickets and grasshoppers. There are some only found around the shorelines of ponds and lakes, and many out in open country. A lot of them poorly photographed or documented. You might need a net to catch a lot of the skittish ones though, at least if you don’t want to spend a long time trying to sneak up on them.

Honestly all invertebrate groups are good in Australia, even SA. I don’t know what sort of allusion that is but I don’t know if it is true. Maybe there is less endemism on a state basis compared to other states, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t interesting and quality stuff.

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Thank you for your kind reply and suggestion. (I have chased a few crickets/grasshoppers around with my camera, so that made me smile). At the moment it’s all fascinating to me - and I do hope it stays that way.

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You are in a part of the world that is not well documented. Cicadas will be good there too, if you make recordings or even track them down if you have the patience to do so (it isn’t for everyone!!). Beetles. Butterflies and moths both. Plants too, if you like those, are excellent enough in SA.

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South Australia is a great hotspot for Ground beetles (Carabidae) in the mallee country - think Gawler Ranges, but pretty much anything in the mallee will be poorly studied. If there is rainfall, go, go, GO! A lot of things emerge en masse after a good rain to feed on shoots and flowers.
But while on your Ls you probably don’t want to be dealing with muddy dirt tracks and getting bogged in a remote area after rain, so stick to the bitumen for now.

Edit: I would consider making as many observations as you can in the burnt areas of Flinders Chase National Park on Kangaroo Island when it reopens for visitors. Photograph even mundane stuff like magpies and a broad spectrum of plants indicating which have survived and which have not - anything to document bushfire recovery is valuable, and the absence of certain taxa would be very telling. You’ll also be bringing much needed tourist dollars to the island after the tragedy. Edit #2: The RSPCA is looking for volunteers to be on the island for week-long intervals to feed wildlife. Your aims might coincide with theirs. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-24/rspca-calls-for-kangaroo-island-volunteers-amid-mass-death-fears/11896856

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I think the ‘missions’ section of iNat was designed with that in mind, if I’m not mistaken. In my area not really suggesting much interesting stuff though…

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Wattlebird, you might like to search out what projects exist or even start your own “arthropods of SA” project. Here’s one for buprestids I set up that you may be interested in joining, as well as seeing how it works.
https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/jewel-beetles-of-south-australia

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Some excellent and well considered ideas there - thank you. I used to live on Kangaroo Island and spent some happy times in Flinders Chase. It would feel right to go back there and chart what has survived. Unfortunately health restraints preclude this and so my observations are confined to the 20 acre native bush block (in the midst of sheep paddocks) where I reside. I do hope to chart as many of the flora and fauna here as possible though. In addition there are some day trips to nature reserves that I can usually manage. There’s plenty here to keep me going and I consider myself most fortunate to share this space with such an astonishing variety of life.

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I did upload an ob of a Cicada - it was very small and silvery grey with matching eyes (hasn’t been identified). It does sound like there are few Cicadas around :) and I hadn’t thought of recording them, but now I will - thank you for that good idea.

I’ve heard that the majority of cicadas require recordings to identify, though in a poorly-researched area that might not be enough either

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Thank you - that is interesting. I can’t find a match anywhere after trawling through hundreds of images - its eyes being on top of the head seems to set it apart from many, but this is the first time I’ve really looked at Cicadas, so I’m fairly clueless :)

Ideally, you want recordings. And then photos. That order is best because once you get close, they tend to stop singing…That combination will almost certainly guarantee an ID for the Australian species, even if they are poorly known.

To be fair, either of those samples, photo or recording, are sufficient in many cases as is. But the combination is really nice.

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I’ve personally only been as far north of Adelaide as Gawler/Williamstown, which is a good spot for nature walks - though increased development in the area is slowly taking over a lot of the dry forests I remember exploring as a kid - but if you’re able to travel to any of the more arid areas of SA I’m sure youll find something interesting! Scorpion and spider hunting is always fantastic in drier regions, and SA has some amazing species of both orders. If you can, just head out for a walk at night and shine a torch and/or blacklight on the ground in front of you - most spiders have reflective eyes, like a dog, and scorpions appear bright blue under a blacklight!

One of my favourite wolf spider species (which also happens to share my name!), Hoggicosa natashae, was initially described at Lake Gilles, though it’s unfortunately quite rare. On the opposite end, the spider-hunting scorpion Isometroides vescus is found throughout most of SA, and is absolutely fascinating to watch hunt!

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haha - yes, they do stop just as soon as one’s finger hovers over the ‘record’ button :)

Now you’ve inspired me - scorpions - I have photographed wolf spiders (with mixed results - they do tend to turn away from light at the last moment - though so would I), but scorpions that appear bright blue - this I have to see, how exciting - thank you :)

ps - as I seem incapable of making reply sit under the member’s post that I’m replying to, I do hope that you can work out whose is whose - I do value all of your responses -

Under each post you replied to is a button that lets people see your reply. So no worries.

In the future, you can highlight the text you are replying to, and select “quote” from the dropdown menu. This will both let you reply to someone, and will provide context for whomever is reading.
Though your new post will still appear at the bottom of the thread.

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