[Taxacom] What's missing from this picture?

Bob Mesibov mesibov at southcom.com.au
Sun Sep 6 06:54:58 CDT 2009

Here in Australia we celebrate National Threatened Species Day every 7 September. (Don't blame me, I'm just stating a fact.) A media release for this special day from World Wildlife Fund Australia has been picked up by the news services (e.g. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/09/06/2677706.htm?section=australia), and you can find the full glossy release at http://www.wwf.org.au/

A quote from the release: 'In the last decade at least 1300 new species have been discovered across Australia'

Sounds low? Well, it decodes as 1072 plants, 195 fish, 74 reptiles, 13 amphibians and 7 mammals. The release then highlights these finds in the order (mammals, amphibians, reptiles, plants, fish), which is no doubt the result of careful market research (frogs are popular biodiversity icons in Australia).

All of us working on non-WWF taxa can only wonder where we went wrong. Maybe I should stop saying I study 'invertebrates', which is after all a monstrously paraphyletic grouping. I'm happy to report, though, that our major public broadcaster has put up a gallery of threatened species with inverts as 5 of 12 images:

Dr Robert Mesibov
Honorary Research Associate
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, and
School of Zoology, University of Tasmania
Home contact: PO Box 101, Penguin, Tasmania, Australia 7316
(03) 64371195; 61 3 64371195
Website: http://www.qvmag.tas.gov.au/mesibov.html

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