Tuesday 16th February: Collecting true bugs!

I thought I’d start this blog with a map of Tasmania which has Bruny Island marked so you have a better idea of where I am, which will also explain the weather experienced here.

Tasmania Bruny Island map

The team (scientists, teachers and organisers) were up at 7 o’clock today to have breakfast and get packed for a full day of collecting. 8 teams of scientists and teachers were created for the day of collecting. I got to work with Anna, to collect true bugs, she is a specialist in bugs. Yes, true bugs, not beetles or flies or ants. What are true bugs you ask? True bugs suck sap from a plant or predate (catch and eat) other insects.  The whiteboard shows necessary details for the day. Another teacher, Nicole from St Aloysius School and I are ready for a big day of collecting specimens!

day 2 ready for field work blog a

Bruce from Earthwatch, Anna and I set off together around 9:00 am. We didn’t return until around 5:30 pm. Before we set off we didn’t forget safety, safety, safety ! We made sure we were wearing warm clothing including wet weather gear (waterproof jacket and pants) and gaiters (which fit over the boots and pants to protect you from things like leaches, bugs and snakes). 

We visited 4 very different sites on the island to collect bug specimens. The first site was within a eucalypt forest. It was raining and there was a short hail shower but luckily the sun came out and it was fine. With the many changes in weather on Bruny Island I have often thought of Year 1. Year 1, what weather did you observe on your weather field trip outside your classroom? The weather here is very different from Brisbane’s weather! During the day it is cold and windy. Sometimes it is fine but it rains on and off. At night it is very very cold with showers of rain. I feel sorry for the sheep in the paddock!

Anna, the true bug scientist got busy collecting bugs using a net and stick as well as doing some sprays. I’ll tell you about the sprays when I return. I helped out as best I could by copying Anna. I tried my hand at collecting specimens by beating a flowering plant (bush) with a stick and capturing what fell off in the net. I caught a lot of flies, ants and spiders but only 2 true bugs. These were sucked up into a clear plastic bottle for safe keeping. Anna also took notes on the location of the collected bugs (longitude and latitude), a description of

day 2 bug catching blogday 2 inspecting net blog

 

the plant it came from along with the date. 

After visiting the eucalypt forest we drove to two beach locations to search for more bugs. The weather was wild with very large white waves crushing against the shore!

day 2 blog beach location

When Anna got back to camp she went through all the specimens looking at them under a microscope and then preserving them.