Australia: riding on the insect’s back

5 May 2015

David Yeates, Director of the Australian National Insect Collection, CSIRO

As you may have spotted, the title of this article is a cheeky reference to the famous saying that Australia rides on the back of a particular woolly ruminant. The reference dates back to 1894, when the wool industry was one of the primary sources of Australia’s prosperity.

Wool was our main export commodity from 1871 to the 1960s. For more than a century, the golden fleece drew pastoral workers and professionals to regional Australia, and sustained many a country town.

It is likely that most people would consider the native birds and animals in the farm shelterbelt to be the main source of agricultural biodiversity. However, the most diverse and important biodiversity is much smaller. And it’s invertebrate.

Looking beneath the farmer’s feet we would find countless insects and other invertebrates living out their lives, and in so doing providing services that we take freely and for granted.

Read the full article on The Conversation here.