Ever wondered what really does live in your backyard? What bug it was you saw, or perhaps what it does?
“Although not always seen, invertebrates – that is, animals without a backbone – comprise at least 97% of all the animals in this world. This includes insects like bees, butterflies, lacewings and ants, to crabs and spiders and everything in betweem. If you can name it, chances are it's an invertebrate.”
“Invertebrates are the most common animals in suburban backyards. On the Central Coast we are exceptionally lucky as we have a lot of trees and bushland nearby – these areas serve as a source from where animals can come into our yards.”
“Invertebrates are incredible creatures with fascinating lives. For example, many insects spend years underground as larvae, and emerge from the soil to live for only a few weeks. We only get to see them for a fraction of their lives. And we know very little about them as a result.”
“They're involved in a huge range of ecosystem services – including pollination, nutrient cycling, and cleaning the water. But unfortunately, people just think of them as pests, even though 99% of them do us no harm.”
“Invertebrates find a way into our lives – they're remarkably adaptable. Every creature is different, having evolved different ways to eat, forage, and live. The diversity and beauty of these animals is incredible. This makes them wonderful things to look for and learn about, especially in backyards, where they can be easily found. People often think you need to go into the bush or into remote locations to see animals. This isn't always the case with invertebrates - you can see some incredible behaviours and interactions in your own house that rival anything you'll ever see in the bush!”
Alan became interested in wildlife and invertebrates in particular as a late teen. He is an ecologist with a PhD in invertebrate ecology, and has conducted scientific research on these creatures in western NSW and the Simpson Desert. He is also an avid wildlife photographer, providing a range of photographs to local councils, authors, and government departments. Alan has been successful in a variety of local and national competitions, in particular the Australian Geographic ANZANG Nature Photography Competition, which is Australia's most prominent nature photography competition. He was the 2011 ANZANG Portfolio Prize winner, and has had images shortlisted into the finals of this competition in 5 of the past 6 years. Many of these photos have been of invertebrates or plants on the Central Coast, with several from his small suburban backyard. Read More here.