Backyard Species

Since May 2018 I’ve been photographing species found on my suburban property in South Australia and uploading the observations to the iNaturalist platform. As of September 2022 the total count sits at more than 640 species.

At first glace it may seem easy to prepare such a list. Just count up all the different species observed. However difficulties arise when differences between species are minute, and frequently invisible without dissection. Further, keys and published papers detailing the differences between species, particularly for invertebrates, are often locked up behind paywalls, not easily accessed unless you have an affiliation with an institution. Finally, some species are known to exist, but not yet sufficiently described so as to be identifiable beyond Genus.

Check out My Backyard for some context on the property itself.

All observations of species on the property are uploaded to the nature recording citizen science platform iNaturalist. Here, the observations are identified by the knowledgeable community, as far as is reasonably practical from photographs alone. Identifications must be taken with a grain of salt as they can be provided by enthusiasts and experts alike.

Have you ever considered how many species you might find on your property? Check out the How Many Species guide to estimating the number of species on your own property.

Now for the technical stuff. Many invertebrates cannot be readily identified to species level from photographs alone. As such, some are only identified to Genus or Family level. The method used for counting the number of species observed is the ‘leaf count’ method. As such there will be instances where several different species have been recorded, but due to the difficulty in identifying them beyond Genus or Family, the ‘leaf count’ method will only count them as 1 species. In other instances, the community may take a long time to identify an observation. In this case, where it turns out to be a new species, it won’t be counted as such until it is sufficiently identified. Both these issues indicate the total species count is less than the actual number.

As new observations are made and uploaded regularly, this list will continue to grow and change. For the most up-to-date version, check out the full Backyard Biodiversity Project observations list. Additionally, these results can be filtered on the iNaturalist page if you wish to see records of specific taxa.

For more in depth information about some of these species check out the Biodiversity+ Project page, where you can drill down through the taxonomic levels to see what has been discovered on the property.

As of September 2022

Unique Taxa Nodes (Minimum Total Species) = 646

Identified to unique Species = 417