Dr Penelope Greenslade, School of Science, Psychology and Sport, Federation University
The Bogong moth has just been listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and put on their Red List, but why? On a first impression the moth is not particularly attractive, unlike the endangered Ulysses swallowtail butterfly, as it is smaller and a nondescript brown in colour. Nor does it provide economic benefits as does another moth, the silkworm. Its existence is not threatened by any disease nor is it harvested for food any longer. Quite the opposite, as the moth is considered by some as a nuisance, as at certain times of year, large numbers were attracted to lights in cities like Canberra, entering houses and offices where they cluster in nooks and crannies to the consternation of the inhabitants who hasten to destroy them. It also can be a pest of crops such as cotton and wheat where the caterpillars cause damage and are controlled by the application of insecticides.
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