Moth - Carthaea saturnioides (Carthaeidae).

Moth - Carthaea saturnioides (Carthaeidae).

Australian moths online: a photo gallery

We offer images of selected Australian moths, grouped in families.

  • 6 October 2011 | Updated 27 May 2013


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This site provides images of selected Australian moths.

They are grouped in families, and in some cases subdivided into subfamilies.

Most of the information comes from Len Willan's collection and from the Australian National Insect Collection housed in Canberra at CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences (formerly CSIRO Entomology).

Copyright of all images belongs to Len Willan and CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences.

There are about 22,000 species of Australian moths, of which only half have been described so far.

There are about 22 000 species of Australian moths, of which only half have been described so far.

Apart from original descriptions (often very old and insufficient) and scientific studies on selected groups, relatively little has been published on Australian moths (see below).

For most Australian species, little more than the name is known, and field observations on life histories are urgently needed.

Questions include:

  • what does this species feed on?
  • what do the caterpillars of this species look like?
  • has this courtship behaviour been observed?
  • which parasitoids prey on this species?
  • do these caterpillars have a social behaviour?
  • where and when does this species occur?

Many valuable contributions to the knowledge on Lepidoptera have been made by non-professionals all over the world, and it is our aim to create interest in Australian moths and to encourage further contributions.

Not being able to identify species is a serious obstacle for any professional research, and a major dilemma for anybody interested in nature and biodiversity.

We hope that this web site helps to close this gap by providing some badly needed images and giving a unique experience of seeing some of Australia's rarely observed treasures.

Published works

Moths of Australia [external link] (Common, 1990, Melbourne University Press) provides a wealth of information on Australian moths, treating all families and illustrating a number of frequently encountered species.

The Checklist of the Lepidoptera of Australia [external link] (Nielsen, Edwards & Rangsi, 1996, CSIRO PUBLISHING) provides an invaluable taxonomic tool and nomenclatural basis for any study of Australian Lepidoptera, being the only comprehensive list of Australian genera and species names available to date.

A Guide to Australian Moths (Zborowski and Edwards, 2007, CSIRO PUBLISHING) has colour illustrations of living moths and provides a rough guide to help the user discover what family a moth belongs to. It answers some of the most commonly asked questions about moths, and deals with iconic Australian moths such as the bogong moth, witjuti grub and scribbly gum moths.

Find a moth: Open the Australian Moths web site [external link]