Stanthorpe woman snaps Australian first with photo of bug

Lesley Clark said photography has always been one of her passions. Photo Dane Lillingstone / Border Post
Lesley Clark said photography has always been one of her passions. Photo Dane Lillingstone / Border Post Dane Lillingstone

MOST of us don't expect to create a nationwide first when venturing into the backyard but that's exactly what one Stanthorpe woman has done.

Lesley Clark has been a member of the Stanthorpe Camera Club on and off for more than 20 years and has always been a passionate photographer.

She was shocked when she posted a picture, of what she described as a Black Hoverfly, to an online Facebook group and found there was no other recorded image available of the species alive in the wild.

The scientific name is Diptera Syrphidea Allobaccha Monobia and there is no record of anyone taking a picture of a live one in Australia.

Ms Clark said she was just going about her normal routine and never expected anything out of the ordinary when she snapped the picture in May 2015.

"I had no idea this was any type of special photography, I just posted it to a Facebook site called Amateur Entomology Australia and it blew up from there," she said.

"I quite often go out in my backyard and take photos, it's something I do because I like macro work."

Although the picture was taken last year, it was only after Ms Clark was trawling through some old photos that she decided to post it online.

"I take photos of literally everything," she said.

"I do a lot of bird photography, I do a lot of macro work, insects, bugs, bees, those things you can do in your backyard.

"I usually post those on to the Facebook site to try to get an ID if I don't know what they are.

"I knew that that one was a bit odd. I'd never seen one before."

From Facebook the photo was then put on BowerBird to help identify it.

"I put it on and said 'does anyone know what this is?' and then within a day had an email from Dr Ken Walker," she said.

Dr Walker is the senior curator of entomology at Museum Victoria and is involved with the Atlas of Living Australia, which aims to map the biodiversity of Australia and categorise different locations and sightings of species.

"He told me it was the only living specimen recorded in Australia," Ms Clark said.

"I was a bit blown away when he told me that."

Dr Walker's letter thanked Ms Clark for her find and said it would be added to the ALA online database.

"Despite being a tedious process, you have now made a valuable scientific addition to Australian Biodiversity," he said.

"Your record on ALA will then allow others to map the species' distribution against over 300 environmental parameters such as rainfall, evaporation, soil type, and altitude to name a few.

"Thanks again for creating new science and sharing."

For now she will just continue to do what she loves.

"I've always enjoyed taking photos, it's been a passion," she said.

"I've always enjoyed science but biology is not my strong point.

"I studied a bit way back but it seems funny I'm doing this sort of thing in later life.

"Turns out it's quite a special photo and you don't know when you're going to take something like that.

"It's a nice thing for people of Stanthorpe to know that something unusual has been found here."

Ms Clark may already have another discovery in the works with one of her photos of fungi currently being investigated.

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