Bush Blitz expeditions hosted by Museums Victoria, were conducted in Croajingolong National Park during November and December 2016.
Croajingolong National Park stretches along the far south-east coast of Victoria. Due to the large size of the park, one expedition focused on the section of the park west of Mallacoota and another focused on the area east of Mallacoota. This Bush Blitz had a large marine component and included surveys of Gabo Island and Cape Howe Marine National Park and nearby coastal areas.
The far south-east of Victoria is particularly important in terms of unique environments because the eastern and southern biotas meet there. Despite the importance of this region, very little biodiversity work had been undertaken in the park, particularly the eastern part, prior to the Bush Blitz. For example, the Bush Blitz included the first known moth surveys in the eastern part of the park.
Approximately 1776 species were recorded during the two Bush Blitz expeditions. At least 702 species had not been recorded previously in the areas studied and 25 of those may be completely new to science (one echinoderm, 13 true bugs, five snails, one flowering plant, one fern and four marine algae). Ten threatened animal species were recorded and 72 state-listed plant species, including 18 that are listed as Threatened.
Some highlights of the survey included:
- a significant increase in species records from the region for all groups targeted
- the collection of frog and reptile tissue samples and voucher specimens
- the collection of many new records for the park that provide valuable information about species distribution, including 286 species of moth
- the discovery of a sea cucumber Pseudocnus sentus-a new record for Australia
- the location of a number of conservation-listed species of plants and animals.