Learning more about witchetty grubs

Yalti and Alan Yen with witchetty grub

Kiwirrkurra women have been helping scientists find witchetty grubs on the latest Bush Blitz, in Kiwirrkurra Indigenous Protected Area.

Dr Alan Yen is studying the witchetty grub and how it’s used as a food source by Indigenous people. Witchetty grubs are high in protein and fats and have always been an important food source for these communities, but very little is known about the grub itself. We don’t even know how many species there are or what species the different types of grubs turn into.

Kiwirrkurra is Australia’s most remote Indigenous Protected Area and the region is one of the most understudied in the country. Only about 25 per cent of Australia’s total biodiversity is known to science – it’s like a giant black hole in our knowledge. The more we are able to learn about our plants and animals the better placed we will be to protect them now and for the future.

Blitzers included representatives from the Western Australian Museum and Herbarium, the Northern Territory Herbarium, Queensland Museum, La Trobe University and the University of NSW, The Victorian Department of Economic Development, the Australian National Herbarium and the WA Department of Parks and Wildlife. They have been working with Central Desert Native Title Services and Tjamu Tjamu Aboriginal Corporation that manage the Kiwirrkurra Indigenous Protected Area.

Jo Harding, manager Bush Blitz

Bush Blitz is a partnership between the Australian Government, BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities and Earthwatch Australia. The innovative program sends scientists out into the field to record the fascinating plants and animals in conservation areas across Australia.