Most species identified as at risk have little or no management underway to conserve them, and only six of 26 butterflies identified are currently listed for protection under law Australian law. Read more here: The Conversation
Bees get the glory, but moths are also key pollinators, says a new study
by Erin Blakemore in Washington Post 11 June 2023
Modern gardeners often plant bee-friendly flowers in a bid to attract the pollinators and ensure their long-term survival. But recent research on moths’ role in plant pollination suggests the less-heralded insects are just as important as bees. Published in the journal Ecology Letters, the study looked at moths and bees in community gardens in Leeds, England, during the 2019 growing season. Bees and moths were collected during May, June and September. Researchers removed pollen from the insects using DNA sequencing to determine what kinds of pollen stuck to the moths and bees during their flights.
Their analysis revealed that the creatures visit different types of plants. While bees were most drawn to brassica crops like cabbage, maple trees and brambling plants, moths visited most often nightshade plants like tomatoes and potatoes, butterfly bushes and linden trees.
They also play a larger role in pollination than once thought: The researchers discovered that moths are involved in the pollination of redcurrants, strawberries and stone fruit, preferences they say were not previously known to be moth-pollinated. The moths carried more diverse pollen than the bees during the midsummer, accounting for a third of all plant-pollinator visits studied.
“People don’t generally appreciate moths so they can often be overlooked compared to bees when talking about protection and conservation,” said Emilie Ellis, a University of Helsinki doctoral researcher who was a co-author on the paper while working at the University of Sheffield’s Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures, in a news release.
“It’s becoming apparent that there needs to be a much more focused effort to raise awareness of the important role moths play in establishing healthy environments, especially as we know moth populations have drastically declined over the past 50 years,” Ellis said.
That population loss could present a “significant and previously unacknowledged threat” to pollination of both wild and crop plants, the researchers noted. They said conservation efforts should target both bees and moths and take into consideration that moths seem to prefer wild plants.
These “important, but overlooked” insects may be more sensitive to urbanization than bees, the researchers said — all the more reason to include them in conservation plans
South Australian Butterflies and Moths Roger Grund’s original research-quality site was redesigned in 2018 by the Butterfly Conservation South Australia Inc. (BCSA.)and it is now maintained by the BCSA.
Gallery of photographs provided by BCSA member Helen Wilmore, showing metamorphosis for the Caper white, Belenois java teutonia
Some Lepidoptera common to SA and VIC Gallery of photographs provided by Bertrand of Victoria
The BCSA has established a Rain Moth project on iNaturalist to collect South Australian observations. You can filter for details such as locations, dates, species, life stages. When using iNat for research purposes, please note that the ID’s are made by citizen scientists, of varied qualifications, from photos by citizen scientists or the general public. If you filter your search for “Research Grade”, that means at least 3 people have agreed on the final ID. The Atlas of Living Australia garners much of it’s data and information from iNaturalist, Research Grade observations. We hope you will have a look and tell others who might be interested. Have we missed any family or species of Rain Moths?
The BCSA is using iNaturalist to see Lepidoptera reported in our state by community members.
BCSA member Greg Coote has a stunning album of local lepidoptera online .
Some of his images show just how tattered such fragile creatures can become yet still fly around and carry on life.
Nature Glenelg Trust is an environmental organisation with a focus on regions between Melbourne and Adelaide. Bryan Haywood is a member of the Nature Glenelg Trust and the BCSA committee. At the BCSA’s November 2020 public meeting, he provided an historic overview of the Penambol Butterfly Walk, its establishment, and findings after 20 years of monitoring this site. He also highlighted some South East butterfly species not seen in other parts of the state, and conservation efforts being undertaken to conserve these species. Here are the slides he presented.
Butterflies in my Garden BCSA member Linda Shmith shows nectar (food) and host (eggs etc.) plants in her garden
Australian Moths Online This CSIRO site is back online.
Butterfly House Great information and pictures Australia-wide, Unfortunately no filter for results by state.
In 2020, Mike Moore introduced BCSA members to a new application.
Here are the slides he used in his presentation.
In 2021, Chris Sanderson told us about citizens’ science and the updated Butterflies Australia app. See the video!
There are more videos about the app on YouTube There is a Facebook page and a Twitter page. You could email questions or feedback to email@example.com but please note that people will be responding as volunteers when they have spare time, so please be patient.
ScienceDirect.com In 2020, Mike Moore explained to BCSA members venation in butterfly wings, which is critical in identifying moths and butterflies and classifying them into families. This is the useful web address he recommended
Butterfly Conservation SA – YouTube has videos showing presentations given at BCSA meetings; the symbiotic relationships between ants and caterpillars; and more…
Hepialids of the World data from the original website developed by Dr. John Grehan is now available under the management of the BCSA here: https://hepialidsoftheworld.com.au/ Investment in redevelopment is required in order to update the data and make the website more user-friendly.