By Grace Jones | posted on October 10, 2019
THE discovery of an exotic spider in Albany recently has highlighted the value of community surveillance and initiatives like the annual Biosecurity Blitz in identifying new and introduced species.
Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development Development Officer Laura Fagan said Biosecurity Blitz provided a great opportunity for the public to survey their local environment for any interesting creepy crawlies.
“The spider was reported by a member of the public, who uploaded photographs via the department’s MyPestGuide Reporter app to its Pest and Disease Information Service team,” she said.
“We then liaised with the Western Australian Museum and identified it as a female Slater spider, or Dysdera crocata, which hails from the Mediterranean and has never been found in this state before.
“Fortunately, the spider … is now a preserved specimen in the Museum’s collection.”
Biosecurity Blitz participants can make reports using the free MyPestGuide Reporter or WA PestWatch apps or via the department’s webpages.
The department’s experts assess each report and send back a response about what the organism is and whether it is a biosecurity risk or not.
Ms Fagan encouraged all members of the public to sign up for before the campaign begins.
“We receive great feedback from this initiative every year, as people enjoy the fun of getting outdoors and sharing in the satisfaction gained from helping to reinforce the State’s biosecurity defences,” she said.
For more information on the Biosecurity Blitz this month visit www.agric.wa.gov.au/biosecurityblitz