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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.

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