Could Parliament House have new species of organisms?

This morning I have been sent to look for new species of spiders in the gardens of Parliament House.  Surely there could not be any! 

I received words of advice from our spider expert, Dr. Robert Raven from the Queensland Museum. The message was simple - collect anything and if you can get a Redback that would be great. So I wandered around from garden to garden of Parliament House, under the security’s watchful eye, catching spiders and poking spiders them into my vial of ethanol. Some were living in shrubs, others were in foliage of the trees and millions were living between the big granite slabs that make the structure of Parliament House and billions were around the window frames.  I didn’t find any Redbacks but did find the Cupboard spider, a close relative.

Amazingly, when we got back to the lab and looked at the spiders Dr. Raven explained that one spider I caught was a new species (not genus) to the Canberra area and another that our group found a spider that was a new species and genus all together! Quite amazing, to find a spider in the sterile grounds of Parliament House. What we will find in the bush!

It was also great to learn about some new ways to trap insects. A list is below as well as a series of diagrams

  1. Aspirator (see image) 
  2. Coloured cups (plastic cups painted on the inside) Scientists tell me they have found the yellow cups most successful. We had blue, white and yellow. All had a weight on the inside (a large O ring) and water.
  3. Double sided tape (see image)
  4. Pit traps(see https://wiki.bugwood.org/Collecting_insects)
  5. Malaise Traps – Pictures attached. The scientists tell me that these are expensive.

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