Invertebrates in your Backyard

Use these techniques to discover what invertebrates call your backyard home.

Museum2you Backyard Biodiversity workshop 6

I. Kingsley © Australian Museum

There are many techniques to survey the invertebrates in your backyard. Use a combination to determine the diversity of invertebrates in your local area.

  1. Pitfall traps sampling involves placing a small container buried to ground level so that it can collect anything that falls into it. This is a commonly used technique that catches large amount of material for very little effort. Common species found with this method include ants, spiders and beetles. This test is also very easy to standardise.
  2. Leaf Litter sorting involves collecting leaf litter then sifting through the material to find the invertebrates. Protective clothing should be worn, sample sizes should be the same and equal lengths of time should be spent sifting the leaf litter samples.
  3. Beat sampling is probably the most widely used technique for collecting invertebrates from vegetation. This is a good technique for collecting beetles, ants, bugs and spiders. Use a sturdy stick is used to beat the vegetation, stunning the invertebrates. They can be collected in a light colour shallow bag or off a drop sheet.
  4. Dip Netting is the simplest and most effective technique for collecting aquatic invertebrates. Nets can be used to collect from shallow and reedy areas. Organisms are put in a bucket or container along with water from the creek or pond to be identified. 


Karen Player , Manager Museum Outreach
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