Frogs of New South Wales

This key enables the user to identify the adult frogs of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.

This key was created by Matthew Bulbert and Kindi Smith, of the Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Research, Australian Museum, Sydney. Key construction, taxonomic decisions and content were by Matthew Bulbert, technical assistance by Kindi Smith.

The key has been constructed from examination of preserved specimens held at the Museum, original taxonomic descriptions and published keys, especially Cogger (2000), Robinson (1995), Barker et al (1995). Further input has been supplied by various experts within the field of frog research.

The key has been designed for people with varying degrees of prior knowledge of frogs, from the general enthusiast to research scientist. The terminology has been kept simple but is supported by a glossary and illustrations.

At the time of writing the authors are aware of undescribed species from New South Wales. Work is currently being conducted on revising Kyarranus sp, and the Litoria citropa complex.

Australian Museum

Posted By: Site Admin Last Updated: Apr 27, 2016 Views: 11397
Key Author(s): Matthew Bulbert and Kindi Smith Key Publisher: Australian Museum Key Version: 1.0
Key to Class and Order of Australian Aquatic Flatworms

The phylum Platyhelminthes (flatworms) is divided into three classes and a large number of orders and families.  The class Turbellaria contains free-living and commensal species, and the majority of aquatic flatworms are members of this class.  Classes Trematoda (= flukes) and Cestoda (= tapeworms), contain parasitic worms, but some Trematoda go through one or more free-living dispersive stages.  This key covers aquatic free-living turbellarians at family-group level, ectoparasitic trematodes (fish flukes, etc.) at order-level, and the final aquatic stage (cercaria) of the endoparasitic trematodes of some terrestrial vertebrates (family Fasciolidae: sheep liver fluke, etc.).  Other animals which could readily be mistaken for flatworms and are included in this key include Nemertea (ribbon worms), Hydridae (some Hydra-like Cnidaria), Tardigrada (tardigrades), and some families of segmented worms (Annelida).

Posted By: Site Admin Last Updated: Aug 6, 2012 Views: 11393
Key Author(s): CSIRO Entomology Key Version: 1.1
Western Australia Pasture selection tool

Pasture selection tool for Western Australia

Posted By: Site Admin Last Updated: Oct 22, 2008 Views: 11389
Antarctic Marine Dinoflagellates

Antarctic Marine Dinoflagellates

Posted By: Site Admin Last Updated: Aug 24, 2016 Views: 11371
Key Author(s): Australian Antarctic Division
The Key to Pythium species

The key is presented as a guide to identifying Pythium to the species level. It is a modification of that created by Anna van der Plaats-Niterink (Van der Plaats-Niterink, A. J. 1981. Monograph of the genus Pythium. Studies in Mycology. Baarn, Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures. Monograph No. 21:242). Some but not all species of Pythium are included. This key is only a guide and diagnostic tool to assist in the identification of Pythium species. To learn more about identifying Pythium species, culturing Pythium, and Pythium in general visit and work through the Module set. 

Be flexible in your interpretation of what you observe and observe cultures over time. As you gain experience through looking at many different Pythium cultures, you will begin to be able to differentiate sporangia from oogonia, slightly inflated filamentous sporangia from hyphae, and recognize proliferating sporangia. At first, just reading descriptions is confusing, but the more cultures you observe the process will become much easier.

The key was built using the Lucid Builder program. When you open the key, the window is divided into four sections: features available, features chosen, entities remaining and entities discarded. The culture characteristics are present in the Lucid key as “features”. Pythium species are present as “entities”.

As you look at Pythium cultures, check off the characters you observe on the character checklist. Check off characters by expanding the options beneath each main heading of the “features available” section and click on the empty box next to the character you have observed in your culture. When a character is selected, a check mark will be placed next to that character in the “features available” section. These selected characters will also be copied into the “features chosen” section. In order remove a feature chosen, simply click the checked box next to the unwanted character, and it will become unchecked again.  Lastly, as you select the characters you are observing, Pythium species are discarded into the “entities discarded” section, leaving fewer and fewer “entities remaining,” or possible Pythium species.

To help you identify Pythium species, images of the characters are available in the Lucid key. To view these images, make sure that “image thumbnails” is selected under the view tab. Simply expand the contents of the “features available” section and click on the thumbnails to enlarge the images. 

Be flexible in using the key. If you are not certain of a characteristic, select one option for that characteristic and see where the key takes you. When you have eliminated most species, examine the description of the species to which you are led and see if it fits. If the descriptions do not match what you have observed, go back and select a different option for that characteristic and other questionable characters and examine the description of the species to which you come.


Gary W. Moorman, Ph.D.
Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology
The Pennsylvania State University
111 Buckhout Laboratory
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: 814-863-7401
Email: [email protected]

Sara May
Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology
The Pennsylvania State University
220 Buckhout Laboratory
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: 814-865-2204
Email: [email protected]

Kathleen M. Ayers
Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology
The Pennsylvania State University
220 Buckhout Laboratory
University Park, PA 16802
Email: [email protected]

Posted By: Site Admin Last Updated: May 21, 2014 Views: 11365
Key Author(s): Gary W. Moorman, Ph.D., Sara May, Kathleen M. Ayers Key Version: 1.0
Key to Phylum and Class of Australian Aquatic Invertebrates

This is the central key in this series of linked Keys to Australian Aquatic Macro-Invertebrates.  The key is designed to identify any specimen to a level corresponding approximately to Phylum or Class.

For most major invertebrate groups this key points directly to a family-level subkey.  For arthropod taxa, it points to a Key to Arthropoda as an intermediate-level key.  Groups for which no subkey is provided can be identified further using the notes and illustrations given against the relevant terminating taxon in this key.  In most cases, these notes allow identification to family level, but a few taxa, namely rotifers, gastrotrichs and nematodes, are taken only to ordinal level.


This set of keys was prepared mainly from the primary and secondary taxonomic literature and from existing dichotomous keys.  Expert advice and assistance was sought in some cases.  References and acknowledgments with respect to each key are given in the text which accompanies that key.

Taxon coverage

These keys cover the free-living macroscopic invertebrate taxa known to occur in Australian inland waters, including introduced taxa.  Taxa represented in fresh or saline, running or still, permanent or ephemeral inland waters are included, but wholly marine taxa which may extend into upper estuarine habitats, and wholly terrestrial taxa some species of which extend into intermittently wet habitats, have generally been omitted from the keys.

The aim has been to key free-living organisms to family level.  Only higher-level identification is provided for (i) taxa in which all species are obligate parasites, (ii) taxa mainly comprised of organisms too small to be retained by a 250mm mesh sorting sieve, and (iii) semi-aquatic, damp-soil and semi-marine (upper estuarine) taxa.

Some taxa are not taken to family level because the taxa are poorly known.  For these the key runs to whatever level can be achieved on current knowledge.  For example, phylum Nematoda is taken only to order (and then only by way of taxon notes) and part of Platyhelminthes is taken only to superfamily level.

Geographic coverage

Our aim has been to cover the whole of Australia, but not all source documents specify whether offshore territories, etc, are included.  Thus, coverage of tropical/subtropical island territories, and Antarctic/sub-antarctic territories may not be complete for some taxonomic groups.

Ecological coverage

Our aim has been to cover all inland waters: fresh or salt, flowing or still, including marshlands and temporary waters.  The dividing line between riverine and estuarine habitats is hazy, as are also the line between marine littoral and coastal saltmarsh and that between wetlands generally and damp terrestrial environments.

At genus or species level the decision what to include or exclude could be problematic, but at family level it is less so.  For the most part, families which are strongly represented in marginally-aquatic environments also include one or more truly aquatic species, and thus are included in the keys.  Where this is not the case we err on the side of including taxa which might be found in aquatic samples.  Where sources differ as to whether a family has aquatic members we treat it as if it has.

Posted By: Site Admin Last Updated: Aug 8, 2012 Views: 11347
Key Author(s): CSIRO Entomology Key Version: 1.1
Ectyphinae key Lyons and Dikow 2010

Key to species of Ectyphinae (Insecta: Diptera: Mydidae) following taxonomic revision of Ectyphus and Parectyphus by Lyons and Dikow 2010 (doi:

Posted By: Site Admin Last Updated: Apr 22, 2015 Views: 11346
Key Author(s): Katie Lyons and Torsten Dikow Key Version: 1.0
Key to Families of Freshwater Arachnids (Spiders & Mites) in Australia

The Arachnida belongs to the Phylum Arthropoda, Subphylum Chelicerata, and is typically placed at the level of Class.  Arachnids are characterised by having 4 pairs of legs as adults and lacking antennae.  Their mouthparts are chelicerae; however, only some arachnids retain the ancestral chelate (pincer-like) form of the chelicerae, while other groups have hook-like or styletiform mouthparts.

There are two major groups of arachnids that have aquatic representatives: the spiders (Order Araneae) and the mites (Subclass Acari).  Species from four families of spiders may be encountered in Australian fresh waters.  Despite being able to survive for some time under water, none of these spiders is truly subaquatic.

The vast majority of aquatic arachnids are mites.  Larval mites are 6-legged and are often morphologically very different from the 8-legged nymphal and adult mites.  This key is designed for identification of post-larval stages; however, it may work for larvae of some groups of mites.  Representatives of four major suborders of mites occurs in fresh water: Mesostigmata, Oribatida, Astigmata and Prostigmata (Walter & Proctor 1999).  The greatest radiation of freshwater mites has been in the prostigmatan group Hydracarina (also called Hydrachnellae, Hydrachnidia, Hydrachnida).  The Hydracarina, commonly called 'water mites', includes more than 5000 named species worldwide.  In Australia there are 413 described species in 89 genera, representing 22 families (Harvey 1998). 

Posted By: Site Admin Last Updated: Aug 8, 2012 Views: 11339
Key Author(s): CSIRO Entomology Key Version: 1.1
Mesostigmata (Monogynaspida) in Quarantine

This is a key to mesostigmatic mites likely to be found in quarantine intercepts compiled by Dr David Evans Walter of Colorado State University and the University of Alberta ([email protected]).

About one-quarter of all mite species belong to the Mesostigmata, including many economically important pests (e.g. varroa mite of bees, fowl mites, rat mites) and even more economically useful biocontrol agents (especially in the families Phytoseiidae, Laelapidae and Macrochelidae).  Because of their pervasiveness, mesostigmatans are commonly found in quarantine inspections, but primarily because few are plant parasites, there are few taxonomic specialists to help in their identification.  This key is designed to support the identification of members of the largest suborder of Mesostigmata, the Monogynaspida (See the key Major Mite Taxa to identify Mesostigmata to suborder).  Monogynaspids are the mesostigmatans most likely to be found in a quarantine intercept and the Monogynaspida contains all of the economically important species.

Posted By: Site Admin Last Updated: May 13, 2011 Views: 11330
Key Author(s): Dr David Evans Walter Key Version: 1.0
Campbell Island Larval Chironomidae Key

Campbell Island/Motu Ihupuku lies 700 km south of New Zealand’s mainland, the most Campbell Island/Motu Ihupuku lies 700 km south of New Zealand’s mainland, the most southerly of the five New Zealand Subantarctic groups.

There are two identification keys to the freshwater invertebrate taxa of Campbell Island. This key is for identifying the freshwater Chironomidae larvae of Campbell Island to genus or species level.

The key is suitable for users that have basic knowledge in invertebrate identification or animal biology.

The keys were made possible by funding from the Terrestrial and Freshwater Biodiversity Information System (TFBIS) Programme.

How to cite the key:  McMurtrie, S.A.; Sinton, A.M.R.; & Winterbourn, M.J.; 2014. Lucid identification key to the freshwater Chironomidae of Campbell Island. EOS Ecology, Christchurch.

Go to the website:

Key Author(s): McMurtrie, S.A.; Sinton, A.M.R.; & Winterbourn, M.J. Key Version: 1.0

Posted By: Site Admin Last Updated: Jul 9, 2014 Views: 11321
Key Author(s): McMurtrie, S.A.; Sinton, A.M.R.; & Winterbourn, M.J. Key Version: 1.0
© 2022
Terms of Use Privacy Policy