Victorian Man Discovers 1200+ Species In His Backyard!

Jun 21, 2021by Olivia - F&F

If this story doesn’t inspire you to get outside and explore your backyard, we don’t know what will! For Victorian man Matt Campbell, it all started as a simple curiosity. His endeavour to find all living species on his 4.5-hectare property then turned from a hobby to a full-blown obsession! 

So far, he’s documented 1,200 different species, but he says he’s only just scratched the surface.

Flying Peacock SpiderFlying Peacock Spider

Rare Sightings Include Lacewings & Flying Peacock Spiders

Matt Campbell has found all sorts of weird and wonderful creatures on his property at Jeeralang Junction, in Victoria's south-east. His rarest find? A flying peacock spider! 

"I never once dreamed I'd see one, let alone in my own backyard. I had no idea of the species but it didn't take much searching to realise I had found maratus volans,” Mr Campbell said to ABC Gippsland reporter, Mim Cook.

Mr Campbell only records species that he can get a clear photograph of, so it’s pretty amazing that he’s already found over 1,200. "I keep photographs and label my shots with the date and species," he said in the ABC News article. Another rare find was a lacewing, which are typically found more than 350km away from his property!

Moth SpeciesMoth Species

Your Backyard Is Full Of Wildlife!

We don’t typically think of our backyards as a haven for wildlife — especially if we have tiny, manicured backyards. But, you never know what you’ll find! 

“Go and look in your backyard — that's where you start — in your own backyard. Look in the grass, look in the leaves and you'll be amazed at the creatures you find there," said Mr Campbell.

For Mr Campbell, 2021 has been a successful year in his documentation process. More rain has brought his backyard back to life; encouraging the growth of new orchid species and attracting new birds and insects. Overall, he hopes his documentation process will help to protect the bushland surrounding his property in the future — as well as the abundance of wildlife within it!

Backyard Biodiversity BeeBackyard Biodiversity Bee


For Matthew Holden, a mathematician based at the University of Queensland, staying home during last year’s lockdowns was like a science experiment. One day, he and his roommates noticed different types of spiders in the back of a wardrobe — but they never would’ve guessed that there were 29 species living in their house and yard. Eek!

It became a bit of a challenge. Soon enough, Matthew and his roommates found 409 animals. 50 were vertebrates (birds, mammals, reptiles and frogs) and a whopping 359 were invertebrates — 316 of which were insects! Mostly moths, flies, bugs and spiders. The #StayHomeBiodiversityChallenge grew quickly on Twitter, and soon enough, more people around Australia were finding new species in their own home. Last month, Matt Holden tweeted that he’d found 1,000 species!

Backyard Biodiversity Native PlantsBackyard Biodiversity Native Plants

How To Support Native Wildlife In Your Backyard

When considering how to support wildlife in your backyard, you only need one objective: go as wild as possible! To encourage healthy biodiversity, we need different variations of plants and flowers, plus wildlife-friendly designs and structures.   

To attract pollinators, focus on planting an array of bee-friendly annuals, perennials, herbs and treesBirds, bees and insects love native Australian flora, too. These 9 Australian native plants and trees will attract all sorts of wildlife and bees to your apartment balcony or garden!

Aside from pollinator-friendly flowers and plants, we also need to be careful with our use of harmful pesticides. “Weeds” like dandelion and clover are actually a great food source for native bees and hoverflies!

Are you inspired to explore your backyard? We definitely are! Our backyards — no matter how small — can provide a home to a wide array of mammals, birds, reptiles, and insects. 

If you’re inspired by these stories, check out the #StayHomeBiodiversityChallenge hashtag and share your backyard finds!

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