Our new Australian Moths Online website is now live.
Australian Moths Online helps to:
- create interest in Australian moths and encourage amateur Lepidopterists to contribute to research
- assist professional researchers to identify moths
- give all people the chance to see some of Australia's rarely observed biodiversity treasures.
Australia has around 22 000 species of moths. Around half of these have been scientifically named. Australian Moths Online does not include images of all described species and deliberately excludes species that have not been described.
Please keep in mind that reliably identified images are a valuable tool for identifying specimens, but a simple comparison with images has its limitations and can’t replace professional identification based on a detailed morphological examination and comparison with a reference collection.
Hints for using the dataset
The images on Australian Moths Online are searchable and are grouped into family albums. Subfamily albums are also arranged in alphabetical order within their families.
Within each family and subfamily album, species albums are arranged alphabetically, based on the combination of genus and species name. A species album may contain several images if the species is variable, such as sexually dimorphic or if both its upper and under-side markings are particularly informative.
Image captions include genus and species name, author, year of publication, family, sex, locality, date, collector and collection.
Moths regarded as pests in Australia can be found by running a search on ‘pest'. A list of images, names and data for each pest species on the site will appear. Clicking on the image will provide an expanded image to accompany the data.
Meet the authors
Len Willan, who collected moths throughout his life and was often faced with the challenge of identifications, is the driving force behind this web site. He spends countless hours photographing specimens in his own collection and the Australian National Insect Collection (ANIC) as well as giving those images a finishing touch and entering data. He is also happy to respond to any queries sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All data, from localities to species identifications, were subsequently verified by Ted Edwards and Marianne Horak in the ANIC.
Others involved in establishing this and/or previous versions of this site are Glenn Cocking, Andrew Wright, Lilys Koesmarno, Brennan Arrold and Andreas Zwick.
Relatively little has been published on Australian moths, aside from original descriptions of specimens (which are often incomplete) and scientific studies on selected groups. However, we can recommended the following:
- Moths of Australia (Common, 1990, Melbourne University Press) provides a wealth of information on Australian moths, treating all families and illustrating a number of frequently encountered species.
- Checklist of the Lepidoptera of Australia (Nielsen, Edwards & Rangsi, 1996, CSIRO Publishing) is 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.
- 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 moth.