top of page
53711352599_6b357ece66_o.jpg

OFFICE BEARERS

Axel_Kallies.jpg

Axel Kallies 
President

president@maba.org.au 

Axel is a professor of molecular immunology at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, University of Melbourne. Ever since he was a teenager he has been interested in moths, and has specialised in the taxonomy, systematics and phylogeny of the superfamily Cossoidea, including Cossidae, Sesiidae, Brachodidae and Castniidae, describing more than 170 taxa mostly in these families. This includes moths from Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania, and of course Australia. He is the author or co-author of over 80 scientific papers, including research articles on moth phylogeny, taxonomic descriptions and revisions, biology, faunal lists and new distributions. Over the last 10 years, he has been working with a group of other Australian entomologists including Doug Hilton, Andy Young, Liz Milla and others on Australia’s monotrysian moths, including Heliozelidae, Adelidae, Opostegidae and Hepialidae, and additional evolutionary primitive families of moths. Other groups of interest include families such as Zygaenidae, Cyclotornidae and Glyphipterigidae. Together with Peter Marriott, he is also part of the Moths of Victoria project team, documenting the faunistics and ecology of Victorian moths.

Donald-Hobern_FI2.jpg

Donald Hobern
Vice President

vice.president@maba.org.au 

Donald Hobern is an amateur lepidopterist with particular interest in plume moths (Pterophoridae) and many-plume moths (Alucitidae). He has been passionate about natural history since growing up on the Essex coast in the UK. He studied Classics at university and then worked as a software developer and architect for IBM for 16 years, including several years in the US and in New Zealand. In 2002, he joined the newly established Secretariat of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) in Copenhagen as Programme Officer for Data Access and Data Interoperability. Since then, he has worked internationally as a biodiversity informatics specialist, including leading roles in GBIF, the Atlas of Living Australia, the Taxonomic Databases Working Group, the International Barcode of Life Consortium and Catalogue of Life. He now divides his time between work to improve the quality and management of the Catalogue of Life Checklist and to improve data management for crop research data within the Australian Plant Phenomics Facility. Currently, his primary Lepidoptera interests involve building automated camera traps to collect standardised data on nightly moth numbers and work to fill gaps and correct errors in the Global Lepidoptera Index, a project to build a comprehensive and current listing of all the world's described moth and butterfly species.

Michael_Braby.jpg

Michael Braby
Secretary

secretary@maba.org.au

Dr Michael Braby is an Honorary Associate Professor in the Division of Ecology and Evolution at the Australian National University and a Visiting Scientist at the Australian National Insect Collection, Canberra. He developed an interest in the natural history of butterflies at the age of 16 whilst a high school student and has been hooked ever since! He is recognised nationally and internationally for his research on the biodiversity of butterflies—particularly their taxonomy, systematics, biogeography and conservation biology. His research aims to better understand and document the composition, biogeographic patterns and evolutionary history of butterflies and the underlying processes shaping their assembly on the Australian continent, as well as management actions needed for their conservation. Michael has a keen interest in the photography and life histories of butterflies and diurnal moths, and his reference collection of Australian butterflies (c. 10,000 specimens) was recently donated to the ANIC. He is the recipient of several awards, including the The Whitley Medal in 2001 by the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales for the best book on the natural history of Australian animals (Butterflies of Australia: Their Identification, Biology and Distribution), the Whitley Award Certificate of Commendation in 2005 for the best book in the category of Field Guide (The Complete Field Guide to Butterflies of Australia). In 2011 he received the Hayashi Award from the Butterfly Society of Japan in recognition of outstanding contribution to the study of Lepidoptera through the publication of numerous books and research papers for both specialist and amateur lepidopterists. In 2012 he was awarded the Mackerras Medal in 2012 by the Australian Entomological Society for excellence in Entomology.

Tony_Moore.jpg

Tony Moore
Treasurer

treasurer@maba.org.au 

Tony Moore is a veterinarian who worked after graduation in Australia in small animal practice during the 1980s, and then spent 17 years in the USA teaching veterinary oncology at Tufts University in Massachusetts. He left his position as Professor there to return to Australia in 2003, and co-direct a veterinary oncology consulting company. Although well published in the veterinary field, his interest in lepidoptera is primarily as a hobbyist, and he has collected butterflies since he was 12 years old. His academic career has allowed him to collect on all suitable continents and in such fabulous places as Sulawesi, Costa Rica and Madagascar. A more recent interest in moths has expanded his horizons (and number of cabinets) considerably. He and his wife live near Port Macquarie, on 25 acres recently designated as a Biodiversity Conservation Trust. Now semi-retired, he hopes to develop more dexterity and skills in the study of lepidoptera.

David_Britton.jpg

David Britton
Editor

editor@maba.org.au 

David currently works as an entomologist in the area of plant health surveillance, based in Cairns with the Northern Australia Quarantine Strategy (Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment). He has been an entomologist for as long as he can remember and has diverse experience and interests which has covered physiology, behaviour, chemical and nutritional ecology, community ecology, conservation biology, insect life-histories, pest surveillance and monitoring, and management of pest insects. Much of this work has included Lepidoptera as the group of interest. His education included a series of degrees from University of Melbourne, La Trobe University, and the University of New England before he quite sensibly decided to part ways with the university system and get an actual job. This job was a long stint as entomology collection manager at the Australian Museum, and a shorter stint as the manager of the natural history collections at the Museum. He then decided on a change of scenery, heading north to his current location to work in a more tropical environment. David amassed a private collection from around 1988 to 2015 of over 10,000 specimens, primarily Lepidoptera from south-eastern Australia, but also moths and butterflies from South Africa, Arizona and Papua New Guinea. This has been donated to the Australian Museum. While not claiming to have any major expertise with any group of Lepidoptera or indeed other groups of insects, he does have a fondness for the Lithosiini and a very broad knowledge of entomology in general

Julie_Morgan.jpg

Julie Morgan
Public Officer

public.officer@maba.org.au 

Julie lives on the south coast of New South Wales on a property that she manages for conservation. Her curiosity about her environment led her to research the many aspects of the natural world that surrounded her. It began with birds, then butterflies, plants, frogs, mammals, other insects, and more. Julie’s interest in moths started about twelve years ago when she began to photograph the many species that visited the outdoor lights at night. She found that identifying all the species was a challenge and was fortunate enough to be introduced to Ted Edwards who was very generous in sharing his knowledge of moths. She became fascinated with the wonderful variety in the moth world, from the stunning colours and patterns of emeralds, the various structures that case moths build, and the spectacle of ghost moths emerging after rain. As Chair of the Eurobodalla Natural History Society, Julie encourages others to learn more about nature by leading field trips, writing newsletter articles and conducting talks. She believes that education is the way to connect people to nature and an important component of conservation. Presentations on Lepidoptera are particularly popular, with people both surprised and delighted with the beauty and diversity of moths and butterflies around them. The interest created has resulted in reports of species not previously recorded in the region. Julie believes Moths and Butterflies Australasia Inc. will bring together a diverse range of people interested in Lepidoptera, balancing a strong scientific foundation with a wider appeal for community and other interest groups. MABA will play an important role in education and conservation and will promote the documentation of new observations and discoveries.

352373921_1392247988025250_1604414168485481449_n.jpeg

Yi-Kai Tea
Website Officer

website@maba.org.au

Dr Yi-Kai Tea is a systematic ichthyologist and the Curator of Fishes at the Australian Museum. He received his PhD from the University of Sydney in 2022, where he was awarded the prestigious award of outstanding doctoral thesis. His research interests combine the use of cutting-edge genetic sequencing techniques with traditional methods of morphology to better understand the evolutionary history of coral reef fishes. He is also interested in better understanding the biodiversity of fishes living in coral reefs, and in doing so, he has revised the taxonomy of several coral reef fish groups, in addition to having described and named over two dozen species as new to science. Kai will take us on a deep dive into the lesser known, mesophotic coral ecosystem, also known as the coral reef’s twilight zone. Coral reefs hold more amounts of biodiversity per unit area than any other ecosystem in the world, yet much of what we know is limited to the top 20 m. In fact, coral reefs extend much deeper into the depths than we think, plunging as far down as 250 m! We will explore the wonderful world of fishes living in this unknown half and discover how new technology has allowed us to study these previously inaccessible realms.

Suzi_Bond.jpg

Suzie Bond
Social Media Officer

media@maba.org.au

Dr Suzie 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, is a co-author on a forthcoming book on ACT moths due for publication in early 2022 and she has also published articles on birds and butterflies. Suzi 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.

Cathy_Byrne.jpg

Cathy Byrne
Education Officer

education@maba.org.au

Cathy grew up in southern Tasmania, and as a child she used to love wandering around the bush, observing and collecting insects. She recalls always wanting to be an entomologist. She finally achieved that goal some decades after, raising a family of four kids along the way, and finishing a science degree followed by a PhD where she studied the systematics of native geometrid moths supervised by Peter McQuillan. Systematics had to take a back seat while she worked with Tasmanian Department of Agriculture on a project securing market access to Japan for locally grown cherries. This job gave her access to the Department’s large and historical Tasmanian insect collection, which featured collections from such notable Australian entomologists as A.M. Lea and J.W. Evans, both who had worked in the same Department. Working with collections has now become Cathy’s job as Senior Curator of Zoology at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) in Hobart. The curatorship position is a very diverse one, spanning collection and staff management, and public outreach and education. Curators are also expected to conduct systematic research, enabling Cathy to continue her productive and high-quality research on Australian Geometridae. Zoology at the TMAG has the very ambitious goal to have representatives every animal species in Tasmania held in the Museum collections. As part of achieving that goal the Museum conducts “Expeditions of Discovery” to remote and poorly collected areas of Tasmania almost every year. For Cathy this has resulted in finding many new lepidopteran species, faunal records and rarities, and much of Cathy’s time is now spent preparing and identifying moth specimens from this field work. Cathy sees MABA as an association that can bring together everyone who is interested in our diverse and fascinating Lepidoptera, highlighting how important our fauna is globally, with its diversity and high level of endemicity. She hopes it will provide a platform for the sharing of knowledge on our moths and butterflies both locally and internationally.

Chris_Sanderson.jpg

Chris Sanderson
Conservation Officer

conservation@maba.org.au

Chris is based in Brisbane and is a reformed vertebrate ecologist who now spends most of his limited time in the field looking at butterflies. Currently working with the Queensland Government, his role is to provide habitat mapping and advice on fauna to legislators and decisionmakers within government. During his formative years, Chris was lucky to have a grandmother who was a passionate birdwatcher, a passion which appears to have rubbed off on him. This early love of birds turned into a love of butterflies, reptiles, mammals, frogs, orchids, dragonflies, and everything else that makes up the diversity of our natural world. Chris completed a dual degree in Science and Information Technology at the University of Queensland, before embarking on a career working in a diverse range of ecology related professions. He spent several years working for Birdlife Australia, particularly focusing on their citizen science activities (before people were calling it citizen science), which mostly consisted of convincing interested people to write down what birds they were seeing and send it to him. After this, he spent a long time working as an ecological consultant, where he spent most of his time writing down what animals he saw and sending that to other people. In 2012, Chris found a small orange butterfly near Darwin, which became a bigger deal than he expected, and eventually led to meeting Michael Braby and starting the Butterflies Australia project. Butterflies Australia is a citizen science project which established a nation-wide database for interested people to, you guessed it, write down what butterflies they see and send it to us! Chris is looking forwards to MABA continuing what was started with Butterflies Australia and growing the contribution of citizen science to the field of Lepidoptery.

Robert_Hoare.jpg

Robert Hoare
Councillor

Robert was born in 1967 in Winchester, southern England. His father Ian is a keen amateur entomologist who made beautiful collections of butterflies and beetles; Robert first took an interest in Lepidoptera at the age of 6, when he remembers counting Tyria jacobaeae larvae on ragwort in Cornwall. After a classical education at Eton (1980-84) and Oxford (1985-89), he decided to pursue entomology more seriously, switching to biology and studying at Exeter University, where Robin Wootton was a lecturer. By this time his major focus of interest was Microlepidoptera. Attracted by realms with greater diversity and scope for discovery than post-Ice Age Britain, he moved to Australia in 1995 to pursue a PhD under Penny Gullan and Ebbe Nielsen, working on the tiny leaf-mining Nepticulidae. He took his current position in Auckland, New Zealand, at the New Zealand Arthropod Collection in 1998, after the retirement of John Dugdale, and since then has worked mainly on New Zealand Xyloryctidae and Noctuidae, but has now turned his attention to Tineoidea, especially the poorly known and bizarre Dryadaulidae. He retains a broad interest in all Lepidoptera families, though chiefly Microlepidoptera, and likes to rear through the early stages as much as possible. The strange and highly endemic New Zealand fauna is a source of constant fascination.

Mally_Walter.jpg

Marlene Walter
Councillor

Marlene has been passionate about moths, butterflies and really everything nature-related for as long as she can remember. She blames her grandma – she used to read The Very Hungry Caterpillar to her every day when she was very little. She has always wanted to work in a nature-related field and has finally achieved this after finishing her B.Sc. in Land management and Nature Conservation in 2019. She is at the moment working as a field ecologist, passionate about the outdoors, entomology and botany. In the past years she has worked with Axel, Doug and Liz on the Heliozelidae Project and has been rearing caterpillars in the moth families Anthelidae and Lasiocampidae with the aim of shedding light on their biology and contributing to the resolution of species complexes. She is currently describing her first species (a moth) and is eager to embark on a higher degree in the future.

Ying_Luo2.jpg

Ying Luo
Councillor

Ying Luo is a keen naturalist, with a background in insect taxonomy and systematics. Growing up, she was not particularly interested in insects. Her first exposure to the world of insects was through working as a research assistant after finishing her Bachelor of Science. Ying enjoys understanding the various interactions insects have with their environment, which led her to working on a Masters project understanding the diversity of a genus of leaf mining moths (Gracillariidae: Phyllocnistis) in Australia. Ying is passionate about insect diversity and diversity in science, and believes knowledge should be accessible to all.

Marianne_Horak.png

Marianne Horak

Patron

Dr Marianne Horak is currently an Honorary Fellow at the Australian National Insect Collection, Canberra. After completing her PhD degree in Switzerland, she joined the ANIC in 1982 to study the taxonomy and biology of Southern Hemisphere moths, particularly Tortricidae, but also the subfamily Phycitinae of the family Pyralidae and to address other major problems in the Australian Microlepidoptera, including Oecophoridae and Bucculatricidae. ​ Earlier she spent two years in New Zealand (1967–1969) and two years at Bulolo in Papua New Guinea (1971–1973). Her PhD work on Tortricidae culminated in landmark findings on the phylogeny of the family, and the structures that are important in its taxonomy. She then embarked on a series of revisions of the Australasian Tortricidae. In 2001, she became head of the Lepidoptera unit at the ANIC, a position which she held until retirement in 2010. She has continued as Chief Editor of the Monographs on Australian Lepidoptera series, played a leading role in the establishment of the website, Australian Moths Online, and instituted the regular “Moth Weekend” workshops. She also established the Australian Lepidoptera Endowment Fund to facilitate studies of Lepidoptera in the ANIC. In 2008, Marianne won the inaugural J.O. Westwood Medal for the comprehensive work Olethreutine Moths of Australian (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae), which was published in 2006. In 2019, Marianne was awarded the Karl Jordan Medal by the Lepidopterists’ Society, and thus gained the distinct honour of being the first woman to receive this prestigious international award. Marianne fully embraces the concept that one can achieve more by encouraging others than one can by working alone.

dad3b8453593027adf80141db7b0510e.webp

Don Sands 
Patron

Don Sands is an Honorary Associate Professor in the School of the Environment at The University of Queensland, and Honorary Fellow with CSIRO’s Health and Biosecurity Unit in Brisbane. Don joined CSIRO in 1967 after changing direction from medical scientist in a hospital path lab. His work with CSIRO included biological control projects and a part-time affiliation with the ANIC. Don donated his collection of Lepidoptera to the ANIC in 1972 where he has since lodged many specimens and deposited several types. Biocontrol work began in Sydney with introduced parasitoids of fruit flies and scale insects. A short-term appointment with the Department of External Territories in Papua New Guinea (PNG) followed in 1972, working on pests of agriculture before he rejoined the newly-formed CSIRO screw-worm fly unit in Port Moresby. In 1978, Don transferred from PNG to CSIRO’s biological control of weeds unit in Brisbane, where he was responsible for quarantine evaluation of biological control agents. In 1985 in Brisbane, Don introduced an insect pest management program for studies on identities and biological control of insect pests and their agents. Don has had a life-long interest in taxonomy, ecology and conservation of Lepidoptera. He described often with colleagues, two new parasitic Hymenoptera, a weevil, an ant, several Lycaenidae and Hesperiidae and a new genus of Lycaenidae, and resolved the identities of several Coccidae and their parasitidois. Since retirement, Don developed conservation projects on the Richmond Birdwing (Ornithoptera richmondia) and Bulloak jewel butterfly (Hypochrysops piceatus), both with continuing community participation. He is currently assisting Axel, Doug and colleagues with studies of sub-tropical Heliozelidae. Don is a recipient of several awards for biological control of salvinia and the Australian Natural History Medallion for his insect conservation work. In 2023, Don was awarded a DSc by The University of Queensland for a thesis based on his entomological publications.

bottom of page