Glenn Cocking has many years’ experience working with the Australian National Insect Collection’s (ANIC) Lepidoptera area. He has been interested in insects from an early age, and when he finished his paid working career, he learned of the ANIC volunteer scheme at Black Mountain. When he approached the ANIC, he was asked to be involved with the moth collection and it proved to be a perfect fit. Glenn has been a volunteer curator and collector for nearly 20 years now. He has travelled widely across the country collecting moths, and has helped with the curation of the ANIC collection, sorting new collections and identifying specimens as they arrive at ANIC. Along with helping ACT community groups with their interest in moths, and working as a moth moderator for Canberra Nature Map and for the Atlas of Life in the Coastal Wilderness, this has given him an excellent insight into the moths of the ACT in the context of the full Australian moth fauna. Glenn hopes this book will tell many readers about the interesting world of ACT moths, and will encourage readers to learn more about moths in general.
Dr Suzi Bond is an ecologist working at the Australian Bureau of Statistics, where she is a specialist in biodiversity accounting. Suzi published the first field guide to the butterflies of the ACT in 2016 and she has also published articles on birds and butterflies. Suzi also leads a butterfly monitoring project in collaboration with citizen scientists and is a popular science communicator, conducting regular field surveys for butterflies and woodland birds as well as leading butterfly walks for the general public. She is an A-class bird bander, with experience handling a range of species from albatross to thornbills at multiple field sites across Australia. Suzi completed her PhD in Ecology at the Australian National University and is an honorary member of the Australian National Insect Collection at CSIRO, an honorary senior lecturer at the ANU’s Fenner School of Environment and Society, and a butterfly moderator for Canberra Nature Map and Butterflies Australia. Following publication of the butterfly field guide, Suzi gave more attention to moths, recognising that there should be better information more readily available about the ACT moth fauna. She approached Ted and Glenn to collaborate on writing this book, and gathered together a team of photographers to illustrate the book with live moths.
Ted Edwards worked from 1970 to 2000 as an experimental scientist with the Australian National Insect Collection, CSIRO, Canberra, and from 2000 to the present as an honorary fellow at the ANIC. His principal role is in maintaining and building the moth unit at the ANIC as a working collection from which critical identifications can be made. In this role he provides help and advice to many, from school children to cabinet ministers, but mostly everyday folk, agriculturalists and conservationists. Ted has also acted as an adviser and mentor to other lepidopterists. He has collected moths widely in Australia, published on several groups of moths and butterflies, and has been a co-author of three books all meriting Whitley Commendations from the Royal Zoological Society of NSW. In 2012 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) and in 2015 was awarded the Karl Jordan Medal, an international award bestowed by the Lepidopterist’s Society.
Most of the photos of live moths in the book were taken by a team of citizen scientists who regularly in recent years photographed moths in the ACT bushland. The team included: Richard Allen, Ian Baird, Prue Buckley, John Bundock, Katarina Christenson, Steve Holliday, Andras Keszei, Bron King, John Nielsen, Stuart Rae, Ken Thomsen and Paul Zborowski. Some of these people also contributed photos taken in their own backyards or elsewhere in the ACT.
Andras Keszei created the drawing showing moth body parts and took most of the photographs of set specimens from the Australian National Insect Collection (ANIC) of moths for which we had no live photos. You Ning Su provided additional photos of set specimens and scanned many old photographic slides in the ANIC slide collection. Paul Whitington provided the close-up photos of moth head features that are used in discussing moth families. Katarina Christenson, David Ferguson, Kerri-Lee Harris, Donald Hobern, Bron King, Adrienne Nicholson, Carol Probets, and You Ning Su contributed photos from their personal archives or blogs. When the authors did not have a good live photo of an important moth, they often turned to the Canberra Nature Map website (and occasionally to the Atlas of Life in the Coastal Wilderness). There, they found photographs of many moths that might otherwise have been omitted from the book. Some photos, particularly of identified larvae, were sourced from ANIC archives.
Katarina Christenson applied her knowledge and insights to structure an attractive and well-organised book. She spent many a day editing photographs and text, composing the page layout and creating a thorough index, while in constant communication with the authors.
Marianne Horak supported the book in many ways during its preparation. Ian Baird, Katarina Christenson and Bron King met regularly over coffee and later kept in touch virtually while in Covid19 lockdown, reading countless drafts, making corrections and invaluable suggestions along the way, and attending to many editorial tasks during the final production of the book.
The book cover and website were designed by Support Resort, with special thanks to Nithin CG and A.K. Piyush for their creative designs. Cath Busby provided the data, and jointly wrote the text, for the account of the Celaenia excavata spider attracting moths to feed on them. She also joined in the editorial work.
Michelle Bond added immeasurably to the quality of the book through careful copyediting of its contents.
The people at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, including Ken Thomsen, hosted the book’s citizen scientists on several nights to record a sample of the many moth species resident at Tidbinbilla. Federica Turco and David Yeates of the Australian National Insect Collection gave the authors access to the ANIC collection. A grant from the Australian Lepidoptera Research Endowment made it possible for the book to be published.