Gallery of the Grampians survey

by Blair
Publish date
26 November 2012
Comments (10)

The Museum Victoria and Parks Victoria crew at the Grampians National Park in western Victoria have discovered some cool critters after the first six days of the intensive Grampians Bioscan survey. Why elaborate when I can just show you what I mean.

people hiking in mountains Museum Victoria and Parks Victoria crew walking through the stunning scenery of Grampians National Park.
Image: Heath Warwick
Source: Museum Victoria

We've come face-to-face with the cute and furry, like the Yellow-footed Antechinus, Antechinus flavipes. These small mammals look a little like mice but they are not closely related. They are carnivorous, eating insects and small lizards. Females rear young in pouches until the young outgrow the pouch and they climb onto her back for a while. Males fight during breeding season, neglect to eat, and die within twelve days after mating.

hand holding small mammal Yellow-footed Antechinus, Antechinus flavipes.
Image: David Paul
Source: Museum Victoria

There have been five frog encounters so far, including the endangered Growling Grass Frog, Litoria raniformis. The conservation genetics of this species is currently being studied by museum PhD student Claire Keely.

two green frogs Growling Grass Frog, Litoria raniformis. The female is the larger frog on the left, the male is on the right.
Image: David Paul
Source: Museum Victoria

Warm weather has given our researchers an opportunity to sample DNA from the local reptile populations. Here, a watchful Colin catches a Tiger Snake, Notechis scutatus, for a genetics project.

Man holding snake Colin with a captured Tiger Snake, Notechis scutatus.
Image: Patrick Honan
Source: Museum Victoria

A friendly Stumpy-tail, Tiliqua rugosa, faced off with museum herpetologist Jo Sumner. These lizards give birth to live young, which is uncommon in reptiles since most lay eggs. Mating pairs usually follow one another around and maintain a life-long bond.

Woman holding lizard Jo holding a Stumpy-tail, Tiliqua rugosa.
Image: Steve Wright
Source: Museum Victoria

We saw Australia's smallest freshwater crayfish (Western Swamp Crayfish, Gramastacus insolitus, about 3 cm long) and one of the largest (Glenelg River Spiny Crayfish, Euastacus bispinosus, about 15cm long). Both species are listed as endangered on DSE's Advisory List of Threatened Invertebrate Fauna in Victoria.

two species of crayfish Left: Western Swamp Crayfish, Gramastacus insolitus. Right: Glenelg River Spiny Crayfish, Euastacus bispinosus.
Image: David Paul / Mark Norman
Source: Museum Victoria

And species that dramatically transform from larval stages into adults, for example the Dobsonfly, Archichauliodes guttiferus. The aquatic larval stage lives in the rocks on river beds while the adult flies around the plants along the river bank.

Larva and adult of insect Dobsonfly, Archichauliodes guttiferus. Left: aquatic larva Right: adult
Image: Blair Patullo / David Paul
Source: Museum Victoria

And saving my favourite until last – the "Jabba-the-hut" spider, more officially known as a Badge Huntsman, Neosparassus diana.

crouching spider Badge Huntsman, Neosparassus diana.
Image: Heath Warwick
Source: Museum Victoria

We've also recorded Wedge-tailed Eagles and Powerful Owls. Stand by for a report on week two! 

The survey is being conducted with help from Parks Victoria's rangers and aims to document wildlife in the Grampians area. It involves over 60 museum staff and associates, including the Melbourne Herbarium and Field Naturalists Club of Victoria, and concludes at the end of November 2012.


MV Field Guide to Victorian Fauna app

MV Blog: posts from the Wilsons Prom Bioscan, October 2011

Comments (10)

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Mel 26 November, 2012 16:11
Awesome photos Blair!
Sue McB 28 November, 2012 09:23
Wonderful photos - especially the Huntsman.
Blair 28 November, 2012 13:13
Yeah the photos are stunning. I'm starting to think we should be taking cameras into the toilets and showers in addition to the field sites because we saw seven species of moth in seven days there and I just saved a grasshopper from drowning in the shower water.
Johnny 30 November, 2012 11:02
Hey Blair, i'd be interested to read your standard operating procedure for taking cameras into the toilets and showers!!
James 30 November, 2012 15:22
Great photos Blair and the report on ABC last night was great. What was the aqua coloured yabbie looking thing on the news? Was it actually a blue / aqua yabbie or did ABC photoshop a pic? It was quite striking!
Blair 30 November, 2012 15:59
Aha Johnny, that would be interesting! We did have a lot of other standard operating procedures on the trip to keep us safe. So many activities to cover.
Blair 30 November, 2012 16:37
Hi James, no Photoshopping by the ABC, it really was that striking in real life. The photo you describe sounds like the scorpion, fluorescing in UV light - one of the first critters we caught on the field trip. There's a picture and more information in the previous blog "Secret Diary of a Field Trip".
Rob 4 December, 2012 15:46
Is there a report of the survey results available? I'm looking for something reasonably formal with methods, stats, tables, etc.
Discovery Centre 5 December, 2012 14:15
Hi Rob, the field trip was a wildlife census to monitor biodiversity in the area. That goal means the results of focus are a list of names of species that were encountered with discussion of notable records. Parks Victoria will have a  report, which will be prepared in the coming months.
Margo 13 June, 2013 14:37
great work. Such a good cooperative project, and so good to have it all so available to the general public.
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