Giant trapdoor spider (Euoplos grandis), SW. of Dalby, image Mike Rix. Golden tailed gecko (Strophurus taenicauda), Brigalow Belt, image Denise Taimi-Karrkainen.

The semi-arid woodlands of the Brigalow Belt formerly occurred across large areas of eastern Queensland, west of the Great Dividing Range. However, these woodlands have been fractured by over 150 years of human development, and now include some of Queensland’s most threatened ecological communities. Yet, they have received relatively little scientific attention, with negligible work in understanding and synthesising patterns of biodiversity. This project will undertake targeted fieldwork across the Brigalow Belt (North) bioregion to build museum collections, enabling us to document new species, understand the ecology and conservation status of endemic species, and test hypotheses about the impacts of past climate change.

Research aims

  1. Describe a new species of giant trapdoor spider from central Queensland.
  2. Undertake an updated conservation assessment of Euoplos grandis (a giant trapdoor spider) from the southern Brigalow Belt.
  3. Undertake surveys and collect new tissue samples to help understand species diversity in lizards in at least four different genera.
  4. Improve our understanding of the ecology of lizard species in the study region, especially the endemic golden-tailed gecko.

Research outcomes

  • Surveys to collect new samples and distributional data for target species of lizard and spider.
  • Preliminary genetic analyses conducted by Honours student Denise Taimi-Karrkainen 
    of two species of gecko from the study area.
  • Assemble initial distributional data for a threatened species assessment of an endemic giant trapdoor spider.
  • Honours project on the ecology and conservation needs of Brigalow geckos species.
  • Two more surveys one focused on lizards, and one focused on a new species of trapdoor spider.
  • Publication of description of new species of Euoplos trapdoor spider from Monto.
  • Submission of threatened species assessment for Euoplos grandis (trapdoor spider).

This research is led by Dr Paul Oliver, Senior Curator of Vertebrates (Queensland Museum Network) and
Dr Michael Rix, Principal Curator of Arachnology (Queensland Museum Network) in collaboration with DES (Department of Environmental Science) threatened species team and Boobook Consulting, Roma.