Australia can add seven more species of spiders and a new genus of tarantula to its list of iconic arachnids. Parks Australia’s latest Bush Blitz discovered the creatures in Judbarra/Gregory National Park in the Northern Territory – where scientists, Indigenous rangers and volunteer field-assistants from BHP Billiton dug up spider holes, tickled eels and catalogued the park’s spectacular birdlife.
Doctoral student Sophie Harrison, from the University of Adelaide, was up to her knees in a spider burrow when she found a species of tarantula that’s completely new to science. Other discoveries included a new species of saddle-kneed trapdoor spider, named for the brownish red markings on its knees and a flock of endangered Gouldian finches.
In the last five years, Bush Blitz has discovered more than 900 new species, located another 250 threatened species, and recorded 12,000 types of plants and animals in areas where they were previously unknown.
Jo, Bush Blitz manager
Bush Blitz is a partnership between the Australian Government, BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities and Earthwatch Australia.