Female and male Growling Grass Frog, Litoria raniformis, encountered by MV scientists during the Grampians Bioscan.
Image: David Paul
Source: Museum Victoria
A team of Parks Victoria rangers and Museum Victoria scientists have joined forces to perform an extensive biodiversity scan of the Grampians – one of Victoria's most loved parks.
A huge survey of the wildlife of one of Victoria's most spectacular national parks is currently underway in western Victoria. The Grampians Bioscan is a collaboration between Parks Victoria and Museum Victoria where more than 60 museum researchers and 20 rangers are spending two weeks peering into every nook and cranny of this iconic park and adjacent state parks.
Dr Mark Norman, Head of Sciences at Museum Victoria, said researchers are using a wide range of techniques from pitfall and small mammal traps, to audible and ultrasonic sound recorders, flying insect traps, mist nets, night frog surveys, scuba diving, moth light stations and direct searching to document the wildlife of the region.
More than 85 bird species, 23 reptiles, 22 mammals and 9 frog species have been found so far, each photographed, filmed or documented in some form. Highlights include discovery of many species considered rare or endangered elsewhere around the state and country, including healthy numbers of:
- Two species of endangered native rodents, the Smoky Mouse and Heath Mouse
- The Mountain Dragon, known only from a couple of museum specimens
- The Swamp Skink, not recorded since the 1970s
- The Glenelg Spiny Crayfish protected due to past overfishing
- The Growling Grass Frog threatened elsewhere by urban development
- Three species of marsupial mice – Agile, Yellow-footed and Dusky Antechinus
- The Eastern Pygmy Possum
For other animal groups, discoveries include:
- Fluorescing scorpions and carnivorous land snails
- The snake-like Lined Worm Lizard
- The Western Swamp Crayfish (Australia's Smallest Crayfish at a 'huge' 40mm long)
"Good numbers of native animals in Black Range State Park in particular are an excellent sign that the fox-baiting program run by Parks Victoria is working," said Dr Norman.
Ranger in Charge David Roberts said the partnership with Museum Victoria staff and students had been extremely successful.
"We love working in the Grampians National Park, and seeing these kind of results is extremely gratifying to staff who have managed the park through fire and flood over the past decade," said Mr Roberts.
"Protecting and enhancing biodiversity within the park is central to what we do, so we're obviously all very pleased to see the rich wildlife on show through the survey."
Mr Roberts said not all the finds have been small animals - the researchers have been entertained by Emu fathers managing adolescent chicks, huge Lace Monitor goannas and some seriously large Tiger and Red-bellied Black Snakes.
The team has been aided with insect identification by members of the Entomological Society of Victoria and for plants by the staff of the National Herbarium of Victoria.
The survey continues until 29 November with the resulting images, video, data and stories being made widely available for education, conservation and management purposes.
The Grampian survey follows last year's bioscan at Wilsons Promontory National Park, where more than 700 animal species were recorded, including animals previously unseen at the Prom.
For further media information, interviews or images, please contact: Emily Gurr on 03 9392 4865, or firstname.lastname@example.org