A comprehensive survey of Gippsland Lakes’ wildlife is complete with many stories being discovered about the diversity of wildlife from around the Gippsland Lakes – including some brand new species, read more.
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About the Summer of Wildlife
Over the 2015 summer months, scientists, rangers and volunteers from Museum Victoria, Parks Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries, 4WD Victoria, BirdLife Australia and local community groups will document and share stories of Gippsland Lakes’ biodiversity with the community.
Dr Mark Norman, Head of Sciences, Museum Victoria, said the first phase of the Bioscan was a success.
“More than 30 scientists and rangers delved into the forests, gorges and water bodies of Mitchell River National Park. The Mitchell is one of the many rivers that are the source of the Gippsland Lakes. Highlights were encounters with 76 bird species, 16 reptile species and a spectacular array of more than 300 moth species. Some of these records were Victoria’s first.
“We had close encounters with giant tree goannas, swimming water dragons, feisty brown snakes and a dazzling array of insects, spiders and other invertebrates. As well as scientific data, we were lucky enough to capture them on camera, giving us close-up footage and images of their behaviours and life cycles.”
At the same time, a roving frog team surveyed wetlands around the Lakes and encountered 10 frog species including three species of conservation concern – the Green and Golden Bell Frog, and Martin’s and Dendy’s Toadlets. Other highlights included the aptly named Maniacal Cackle Frog and the Whistling Tree Frog.
The marine team also started surveys of the marine life of intertidal shores and life at the bottom of the lakes, recording over 220 species including a large species of shipworm, a bizarre worm-like clam that bores through rotting wood using its two jaw-like shells to chew the wood.
Dr Mark Norman noted that, “the Gippsland Lakes are famous for their fish and waterbirds, but it is less well known that the catchment extends from the mountains to the sea, and is home to amazing wildlife from dry country bee-eater birds and ancient rainforest land snails, to platypuses and dolphins.
The museum is excited to be able to bring our expertise to the region and learn from the local community.” On completion of the bioscan, a digital field guide app to the rich wildlife of the Gippsland Lakes catchment, including images, sound recordings, ID tips and natural history of more than 200 species will be created with the data. This free app will be available for both iOS and Android smartphones and tablets from late 2015.