What is Insect Investigators?
Insect investigators is an exciting collaborative science project. We seek to inspire and educate Australia’s emerging scientists in school, whilst also achieving scientific outcomes.
We’ve also partnered with experts in Australia’s taxonomic community to assess, describe, document and name new species that are discovered by students across the country.
Summary of the project:
Introduction to the project:
What are we doing?
Taxonomy is the science of discovering, describing and naming species. Estimates suggest that greater than 70% of Australia’s insect diversity is still largely unknown to science, meaning they don’t have a formal name. Here at Insect Investigators, we hope to fix this, whilst educating and inspiring Australia’s next generation of scientists along the way!
For effective taxonomy, the first step is to generate specimens. This means we need to head out into regional Australia and start catching insects! We’ll be using Malaise traps, which passively collect any flying insects that fly into them (think butterflies, bees and blowflies).
We’ll be setting up these traps with help from students, who know better than most where the best places to catch creepy-crawlies are. We safely store everything we catch in alcohol to preserve them, and transport them back to the lab for the next step of the process.
Who can be involved?
Primary Schools in South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland were invited to be part of the project in 2022. We are currently looking for funding to be able to run the project again.
Taxonomists who specialize in documenting and describing a group of Australia’s invertebrate fauna are welcome to access our specimens.