Enterprising employees at Santos’ Ballera operations have played a crucial role in the discovery of a rare species of katydid, which has become the first of its kind to go on display at the Australian Museum in Sydney.
Scott Cutting, a plant operator at Ballera, first noticed what he thought was an odd-looking grasshopper in the plant at the end of 2010. He took a photo and sent the picture to the Australian Museum, which recognised it as a rare katydid and asked for living or dead specimens for research.
Soon after, following a couple of dexterous but unsuccessful attempts by Ballera fitter James Wyatt to send captured specimens to the museum, instrument/electrical technician Ron Galbraith caught a katydid that alit on the screen door to his room. This one was named Warnie (after the Australian cricketer) for its green-and-gold colouring and rakish hair-style.
Instrument/electrical technician Glen Robertson and his family hand-delivered Warnie to the Australian Museum. Closer inspection revealed that Warnie was a female, but she kept her name and remains in her own enclosure as the only one of her kind on display in the country.
Warnie was formally identified as an example of the species Alectoria superba, also known as the Superb Katydid. The museum has recognised Santos staff as the collectors.
>> See Warnie on the Australian Museum website.
The Ballera team stayed on the hunt. Andy Stefanowicz, a fitter, caught another katydid at a compressor station, which Craig Cruickshank, a reliability planner, helped to deliver. This one was a male, prompting hopes of an entomological romance.
Sadly, he died of suspected natural causes only a few days after reaching the museum, but not before delivering the goods. Warnie laid eggs on plant stems in her enclosure in March. The story continues.
Employee achievements, Environment, Queensland