We have been quite surprised this year (2022) to have received a lot of positive attention, unknowingly nominated for 3 awards.
Thank you so much to all those people who were involved.
Marianne Broug Vielle, from SA Natureteers Facebook group, created this amazing A3 poster of some inverts she's photographed at Belair National Park.
She's keen on people using it for education, particularly for our children, etc. It only costs $1.50 to print it in A3 at Office Works.
Click here to download the poster
We'd like to thank all these people for giving their time and energy to help identify our local species; allowing our web site to be so useful to others. At times, people like to remain anonymous. As such their iNaturalist (or other) username is used here to respect their privacy; it doesn't diminish their help though.
We source all our Latin/binomial/scientific names from Atlas of Living Australia (www.ala.org.au). It's a Federal Government body that maintains a database of all life in Australia, with photo's, and uses the currently accepted taxon of all Kingdoms. Different Taxonomists disagree on the correct names of species, and we don't take any sides on these issues. As we need to know the "current" names of a broad range of species, we use Atlas as it's the only database we know of that provides this via filtered downloads; that also allow us to check spelling, etc.
We do confess to liking our numbers. While they help us with the web site work, primarily they tell us of the rich diversity we have on Ellura:
1,419 native & 63 introduced species identified. 1,231 native animals, 158 native plants, 27 fungi, 2 crust & 1 algae.
Of those native species that are listed on the 2010 Murraylands Regional Species Status Assessment (excludes invertebrates, etc) plus those on the SA Butterflies & Moths website, Ellura has:
1 Endangered, 6 Vulnerable, 47 Rare & 41 Near Threatened. These numbers tell us how important it is to protect our Habitat
It's an indictment on society that 33% of our listed species are at risk! Further, over 5% of the species we've identified are introduced.
The web site contains 12,270 examples (4,911 enlarged photos) & 93 video clips across 1,998 species (including introduced). We are very excited to have achieved 120,000 hits in one month :-)
We are also now linking to iNaturalist observations we have made. So far we have 1,324 of our published species have attained Research Grade status.
G'day. Just some ramblings to help you understand what this web site is about and how to use it. It's down here because we felt the information above was more important for you to see. While we have been complimented on it's ease of use, there are some features that are not obvious (discussed above). We focus on species on Ellura, the surrounding Murraylands and over into the Adelaide Hills & the Riverland.
This is our volunteer work, to help people like yourself learn about the wildlife that surrounds us all. It is primarily a photographic site, which means some/many identifications are not possible to deduce. It can make others difficult; as it's not possible to properly represent size. We've found some of the best books of late allow us to put a flower or gum nut on the page and know if it's the correct size or not. Oh how we'd love to guarantee a true life size image on your screen; but it's not possible as far as we know. We try to take photo's with a rule to measure size of subject, however, those photo's takup a lot of space, so now we state the measured size rather than display an image of it. Photo sizes are always 500 pixels high and no more than 900 pixels wide, to display properly on standard 15" notebooks.
Talking about size, it's important people understand that much of the beauty in the bush is in miniature. So many people who have seen our web site are amazed at what we have. They say things like "We've driven through that area and it's just scrub". JUST you say! People would probably understand our environment better if they thought of our salt bush more as "trees in a rainforest". For this is where a lot of the life and beauty we discover exists; under the saltbush canopy.
It's important to note that we are NOT trained biologists. We have had a lot of fun and learnt a huge amount undertaking this work. But WE DO MAKE MISTAKES. We rectify them as soon as we know about them, but please don't take anything here as gospel. Just a beginning to your research to identifying a species. If you find an error; be it an id, navigation, dead link, spelling, etc. please let us know. We want our site to be correct. We thank those who have already helped us this way. We show our appreciation of people's input on the species pages they helped id for us. A special thank you to Darren Schmitke. He contacted us via this web site and has been a tremendous help with his knowledge & other invaluable suggestions.
If you'd like to use our photos somewhere else; please talk to us. We are keen to oblige.
Our approach is to try and provide as many views of the same species as we can; so that you can look at something and find a match (regardless of the stage it's in).
This means that the plant pages contain by far the most content (per species) as they have leaves, structure, buds, flowers, seed, fruit, etc. As well as many different stages in-between.
Animals are much less variable, but harder to capture a good photo as they have this habit of moving about;-) Mind you, when it's windy tiny flowers arn't easy to capture either. We now capture insects, etc, in small clear plastic boxes. Some never settle, so we put them in the fridge to sleep; allowing us to take diagnostic photo's with out harming them. We then release them. Occassionally we'll find a dead invertebrate and post images of that; hoping to replace them with live images asap. As such, we are trying to visually characterise local species for you.
When this site started, we had about 500 photographs of 125 species to share with you. We now have over 10,000 photo's of over 1,650 species, and it's still growing!
The primary thumbnail pages are in family (or taxon) sequence of their Latin/scientific/binomial names. We use coloured text to indicate where the species is found, as well as coloured codes to indicate how threatened it is in the Murraylands. This family sequence means that if you find something and think "That's like an xyz", then there is a strong chance that it'll be in the same family group as "xyz". So by finding "xyz" here, you can easily see those other species in the same family. Or it might actually be "xyz", and the different views we provide help you recognise this fact. But wildlife being what it is, it's also just as likely to be somewhere else in the taxon tree completely. It is for this reason we are loath to break the pages down any further. eg Who'd imagine that grass cushion is a daisy .... really what is mother nature thinking?-)
To this end, we have now introduced "Key" pages. An important technique biologists use to differentiate species is to use 'keys'.
Rather than being in taxon sequence, our "Key" pages are sorted by the description of some notable attribute. The first of these we've set up are flowers.
Flowers can be very unique to a species, or they can be almost the same across the whole family (like Acacia).
The idea is that only one "representative" photo of each species is shown under each 'key' description. It is possible the same photo will appear under different 'keys' as it matches both. Or something more tricky could be happening; eg lilies can have 3 petals and 3 sepals. To you and me it looks like 6 petals. So we've put them under "3 Petals" as well as "6 Petals". Other times a species can have both lilac & white flowers. As such, we have 2 different photo's for this one species; one under each description. The descriptive terms we use are not botanical, but lay terms; the way we would describe them. While not scientific we feel it'll help everyone narrow down their id puzzles.
We recently upgraded our menu system to allow us to add more pages (like this one). It's a technological masterpiece if we do say so, but every browser has little quirks that made it very difficult to implement across the board. However, we believe we have succeeded, as we tested it in IE, Firefox & Chrome. If you are having any trouble with a different browser, but have access to one of these, then please try that one. Otherwise, let us know and we'll do our best to make it work on your browser.
Have a nice day people