Scared of spiders? Better not visit the Northern Territory.
We all know Australia’s tropical zone is home to more than a few insects but one researcher at Charles Darwin University recently discovered a whole lot more.
PhD graduate Dr Stefanie Oberprieler surveyed parts of the Territory including Kakadu National Park famous for their larger wildlife, but little studied for insects.
What she found surprised even her – literally hundreds of new species completely unknown to science.
“This region is a seriously under-studied hotspot,” she says.
While that news might not be welcomed so warmly by those less fond of creepy crawlies, Dr Oberprieler points out insects are vital to health of our overall environment.
“Worldwide, insects are becoming extinct at an alarming rate. Areas such as Kakadu hold an undiscovered biodiversity richness and we’re probably losing species before we even know they exist.”
“We can’t conserve what we don’t know, and when it comes to insects we really don’t know much at all.”
Improved understanding of insect diversity and distribution patterns in the Northern Territory will aid conservation planning.
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