Australian Lepidoptera Research Endowment
THE NEED FOR SUPPORT OF RESEARCH ON AUSTRALIAN LEPIDOPTERA
Moths and butterflies are an iconic part of Australia’s landscape. For many of us they represent one of our first memories of the beauty of nature. They play a crucial role in our diverse ecosystems, acting as obligate pollinators for iconic plant species like Boronia and as essential components of our eucalypt forests. They are sentinels to the health of our environment and are important indicator species in conservation efforts. As introduced and endemic pests they have the potential to profoundly affect our agricultural sector and our economy.
To understand our moths and butterflies requires we appreciate the extent of their diversity, that we provide them with names, unravel their evolutionary relationships and determine their life histories. Australia has a rich moth fauna, estimated to number 30,000 or more species, and is a global hot-spot for many families of moths, especially primitive moths that can provide insight into early Lepidoptera evolution. Despite their importance and scientific interest, at best a third of our species have names and have been described scientifically and we understand the life-cycle of perhaps a few hundred species in any detail.
Many important scientific questions about moths and butterflies remain unanswered and, because of cuts to the budgets of CSIRO, Universities and Museums and funding agencies such as the ABRS and ARC, research into Australian Moths and Butterflies has stalled. The Australian Lepidoptera Research Endowment aims to fill this void.
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Moth families only occurring in Australia