Primary School ‘Citizen Scientists’ Find Rare Purple Slater


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Children at a primary school in the south-east of Melbourne recently made a significant scientific discovery while collecting bugs.

Kongwak Primary School students were participating in a science program that involved collecting bug specimens when they found a purple-colored bug among a collection of grey and brown slaters.

When this unique bug was examined by experts, it was discovered the South Gippsland students had stumbled upon a rare virus that had only been seen once before in Australia.

The slater, also known as a woodlouse, during Bush Blitz, which is a science program aimed at discovering new species.

They uploaded a picture of the slater, and Melbourne University Ph.D. student James Douch identified that a virus could have made it turn purple because he knew of similar cases overseas.

He is currently sequencing the DNA of the slater, which is an invasive species in Australia, to try to work out the origin of the virus.


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Leke Babalola