Dung Beetles of eastern NSW - Amphistomus subkey

How to identify the Scarabaeinae of eastern New South Wales

A subkey to the Key to the Dung Beetles of eastern New South Wales

Australian Museum

Posted By: Site Admin Last Updated: Apr 21, 2016 Views: 8016
Key Author(s): Rebecca Harris and Dr Chris Reid Key Publisher: Australian Museum Key Version: 1.0
Western Australia Pasture selection tool

Pasture selection tool for Western Australia

Posted By: Site Admin Last Updated: Oct 22, 2008 Views: 8011
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: 8010
Key Author(s): CSIRO Entomology Key Version: 1.1
Key to Families of Adult Australian Aquatic Coleoptera (Beetles)

Coleoptera (beetles) is the most speciose of all the insect orders.  The majority of the approximately 120 families known from Australia are terrestrial but around 14 are wholly aquatic or strongly associated with water and a further 5 include some aquatic or semi-aquatic species.  This key identifies these 19 families but may not distinguish members of this set from all other, terrestrial, beetles.

Coleoptera undergo holometabolous development, meaning there is an abrupt change of body form at the final moult.  It is convenient to deal with adults and larvae in separate keys.

The chief distinguishing feature of adult beetles is that the front wings form hardened elytra.  The elytra cover and protect the membranous flying wings, which are rolled and folded underneath the elytra at rest.  The elytra meet at the midline of the abdomen, never overlapping as do the hemelytra of some hemipteran bugs.  Functionally, the body of an adult beetle is peculiarly divided not into head, thorax and abdomen as in most other insects, but head, prothorax and hind-body.  The hind-body comprises the pterothorax and abdomen, fused broadly together.  Beetle mouthparts usually are of biting type.  The adult head sometimes has two ocelli but never three, an often none.  The abdominal sternum often displays a reduced number of visible sclerotised plates (sternites).  The first few are reduced and concealed beneath the hind coxae, and the terminal segments usually are telescoped into the apex of the abdomen.

Identification to family level can be partly achieved on gross features such as size and shape, but in many cases requires a careful examination of external morphology.  There is much variation of body form within many families and large-scale characters can readily be misleading.  On the other hand it is never necessary to examine internal characters in order to identify a specimen to family level.

The Australian aquatic and semi-aquatic beetles fall into three suborders: Myxophaga (1 family: Microsporidae), Adephaga (6 families: Carabidae through Gyrinidae in the key), and Polyphaga (12 families: Hydrophilidae through Brentidae in the key).  Myxophaga is a small suborder comprising minute, globose beetles.  Adephaga includes a wide range of body sizes and two general body shapes: one in which the head, prothorax and hindbody are well separated from each other, the other in which they fit closely together to give a smooth lateral outline and overall a boat-shaped appearance.  Polyphaga includes all these shapes and more.

A few families are instantly recognisable on the basis of unique characters.  Most specimens, however, will fall readily into one of several not necessarily closely related families and then may require close examination for final placement.

Posted By: Site Admin Last Updated: Aug 9, 2012 Views: 8001
Key Author(s): CSIRO Entomology Key Version: 1.1
Key to Orders of Trichomycetes

Trichomycetes are a cosmopolitan group of fungi and protists that grow obligately in the guts of insects, crustaceans, and millipedes that live in freshwater, marine, or terrestrial habitats. The taxonomy of these organisms is based primarily on morphology of the vegetative thallus; spore type and dimensions; host; and habitat.

Posted By: Site Admin Last Updated: Jul 27, 2016 Views: 7967
Key Author(s): R.W. Lichtwardt, University of Kansas, Lawrence KS USA and D.B. Strongman, Saint Mary’s University, Halifax NS Canada Key Version: 1.0
Key to Families of Australian Aquatic Odonate Larvae

Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies) occur in all types of inland water except saline lakes.  The adults are winged and can be found near their breeding sites or else (in some species) far from water.  The larvae, with one or two exceptions, are fully aquatic.  The larval stage lasts from a few weeks to several years, depending on species.  All Odonata are predatory in all life stages.

Species numbers usually are greatest where there is a variety of larval habitat.  A mosaic of stones, mud, and sand with a complex emergent vegetation yields the greatest range.  Some families occur across a wide range of larval habitat but others are restricted, eg to streams and torrents, to still or gently flowing water or to bogs, swamps and seepages.  Seventeen families are recorded from Australia.  One family, several subfamilies, about 60% of genera and 80% of species are endemic.

Posted By: Site Admin Last Updated: Aug 9, 2012 Views: 7966
Key Author(s): CSIRO Entomology Key Version: 1.1
Key to the Goodeniaceae of Western Australia

This key allows identification of all species of the fanflower family (Goodeniaceae) in Western Australia.


We are grateful to many friends and colleagues working at the WA Herbarium for supplying diverse data, images, maps, ideas, and taxonomic and computing expertise that have made the development of this data set possible. In particular we wish to thank Rob Davis and Mike Hislop, Steve Dillon, for their help with taxonomic queries. John Huisman for the use of his camera, microscope. Thanks also go to Kelly Shepherd for her help and advice.  Karina Knight for her help and encouragement throughout the project. Images available here come from the WA Herbarium’s online plant information system, FloraBase, and represent the work of a team of dedicated volunteers. The maps, also part of FloraBase, represent specimens held at the WA Herbarium. 

Posted By: Site Admin Last Updated: Apr 20, 2016 Views: 7965
Key Author(s): Chris Hollister and Kevin Thiele Key Publisher: Department of Environment and Conservation WA Key Version: 1.0
Lasiocnemus key Dikow 2007

Key to species of Lasiocnemus (Insecta: Diptera: Asilidae) based on the taxonomic revision by Dikow 2007 (doi:

Posted By: Site Admin Last Updated: Apr 22, 2015 Views: 7939
Key Author(s): Torsten Dikow
Key to Families of Australian Aquatic Plecoptera Larvae

This is a small order of aquatic insects comprising about 2000 species worldwide.  There are 15 recognised families but only four occur in Australia.  Of the 26 Australian genera 24 are endemic and 2 are shared with New Zealand, but at species level all 196 Australian species are endemic.  Stoneflies occur in eastern Australia from Tasmania to Cape York, and in South Australia and southern Western Australia, but not in central or north-western parts of the country.

Adult stoneflies are soft-bodied insects with long antennae, a moderately wide head, three free thoracic segments, and a cylindrical, parallel-sided abdomen terminating in two prominent cerci (and, in males, varied copulatory apparatus).  Typical adult stoneflies have two pairs of membranous wings each with numerous crossveins, the hindwing broader than the fore, but in some species the wings are reduced and in others they are altogether absent.

This key deals only with the larvae, and of all the keys in this series, is the simplest and least demanding.  Identification of larval stoneflies to family level can be based entirely on the configuration of the abdominal gills.  Eustheniidae carry lateral gills on abdominal segments 1-5 or 1-6.  Gripopterygidae carry a tuft of fine gill filaments on the terminal segment.  Austroperlidae carry 3-5 fingerlike gills on the terminal segment, with further fingerlike gills on the cerci or anal plate in some species.  Notonemouridae have no external gills at all.  Additional characters assist in identifying specimens to family when the gills are small and hidden under sternite 10.

Posted By: Site Admin Last Updated: Aug 9, 2012 Views: 7939
Key Author(s): CSIRO Entomology Key Version: 1.1
Antarctic Marine Dinoflagellates

Antarctic Marine Dinoflagellates

Posted By: Site Admin Last Updated: Aug 24, 2016 Views: 7934
Key Author(s): Australian Antarctic Division
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