Nature Kids: The magic of nature and technology

Hear that sound … ?

Cicadas are magical insects that provide a familiar loud soundtrack to summer. But how much do you know about these amazing animals?

  •  Australia has the highest number of cicada species in the world!
  • Many common Australian cicadas spend about 6–7 years underground and they live for only a few weeks when they emerge.
  • Cicadas hold the record for the loudest insect in the world.

It was an especially noisy summer in NSW when more cicadas emerged than in recent years, partly because of the large amount of rain. You can hear the common “green grocer” cicadas in October & November, then from mid-December the black princes, double drummers, red eyes and razor grinders, take over through to April.

Check out the Great Cicada Blitz website.


  1. Aside from the platypus, what is the only other monotreme alive today?
  2. How many cicada species are there in Australia?

Drones are changing the way we look after wildlife

Researchers from the University of Newcastle are working with the NSW Department of Environment to use drones for counting koalas.

“A team with a drone was able to spot koalas more effectively and cheaply than a team using more traditional methods, such as studying the forest floor for traces of koala scat, or shining spotlights into trees at night to catch a glimmer of eye-shine.”

Scientists say drone-mounted artificial intelligence (AI) systems can be taught to distinguish between animals and objects (such as a koala, rock or possum) and are the future of biodiversity monitoring.

Platypus should be listed as a threatened species!

According to new research from the University of New South Wales, since 1990 platypus populations may have declined by more than 50% due to the effects of land clearing, river regulation and extreme droughts on their freshwater habitat. In eastern Australia, the area where platypuses are found has shrunk by about 200,000 km2 in the last 30 years!

Did you know?

The platypus (or biladurang) is a monotreme — an egg-laying mammal — and has an evolutionary history going back at least 120 million years!

What connects starfish and a 3D printer?

Scientists at the Sydney Institute of Marine Science are using 3D printed habitat tiles fitted to sandstone seawalls to mimic real life shorelines.

The honeycomb-like tiles create artificial homes for marine animals and plants, such as algae, rock oysters and starfish along the Sydney Harbour shoreline to restore mangrove ecosystems.

Learn more:

Quiz answers

  1. The echidna.
  2. There are more than 700 cicada species in Australia.

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