Zygaenid Moths of Australia

Hardback - January 2005 - AU $199.00

eBook - January 2005 - eRetailers

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Coverage of zygaenid morphology, biology, phylogeny, classification and in-depth treatment of the genera and species present in Australia.

The Zygaenidae are a family of day-flying moths with an unusual biology – they are capable of releasing prussic (hydrocyanic) acid. All Australian species belong to the subfamily Procridinae (commonly known as foresters) and many of these feature iridescent green colours or a wasp-like look. This is the first study of the Australian fauna of these attractive and biologically interesting moths. + Full description

In this volume their beauty is captured larger-than-life in 114 finely detailed portraits by acclaimed artist František Gregor, setting a new benchmark for moth illustrations. Comprehensive general chapters discuss zygaenid morphology, biology, phylogeny and classification, with considerable new information of world-wide relevance.

The book then provides in-depth treatments of the 10 genera and 43 species present in Australia, including 4 genera and 21 species new to science. It features keys to genera and species, photos of genitalia of both sexes and other diagnostic structures, and distribution maps for all species. Additionally, there are 8 pages of colour photographs and over 400 photos of microscopic structures, including more than a hundred spectacular scanning electron micrographs.

- Short description


"...what makes the publication stand out as more than “just” a comprehensive, detailed and beautiful illustrated regional revision of a hitherto poorly known group of insects is the wealth of information on Zygaenidae as a whole and the geographical and biological contexts in which it is presented. The book should be a must for anyone with an interest in the systematic, morphology and evolution of not only Zygaenidae, but lower Lepidoptera in general."
Thomas J. Simonsen, Journal of the Lepidopterists’ Society, 65 (3) 2011 “… The beauty of the Zygaenids is captured in 114 larger-than-life portraits by the artist and entomologist Frantisek Gregor. … it is the only comprehensive work on Australian Zygaenidae presently available and combines detailed and specific data on the systematics and taxonomy with practical information and excellent illustrations helpful for anyone who has the intention to become familiar with this group of diurnal moths or who simply wants to identify specimens collected in the field.”
Axel Kallies (Myrmecia May 2005)

“The book provides a comprehensive and new information on Australian Zygaenidae and can be recommended to anybody who is interested in this fauna or in zygaenids in general …”
Francesca Begliante and Matthias Nuss (Nota Lepidopterologica v.27 no.4 June 2005)


Hardback | January 2005 | $199.00
ISBN: 9780643067981 | 320 pages | 250 x 175 mm
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Bibliography, Colour plates, Illustrations, Index, Maps

ePDF | January 2005
ISBN: 9780643092198
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Available from eRetailers


  • Features 57 colour plates with 114 detailed colour paintings by acclaimed artist František Gregor. Each species is illustrated, many at 10 times their original size. Additionally, there are 7 plates of colour photographs of live moths, caterpillars and habitats, and over 400 photos of microscopic structures, including over 100 spectacular scanning electron micrographs.
  • Gives an up-to-date classification of Australian zygaenids at generic and specific level, with keys to identify all Australian zygaenid species.
  • Provides in-depth treatments of the 10 genera and 43 species present in Australia, putting the Australian zygaenids into context with the world fauna.
  • Includes comprehensive chapters on morphology (including immatures), biology, phylogeny and classification, which will be useful for investigations of zygaenid biology and chemoecology.


Material and methods
Material studied
Treatment of material
Depositories and material examined
Zygaenid morphology
Pupa and cocoon

Biology and life history
Larval host-plants
Cyanogenesis and resistance to hydrocyanic acid (HCN)
Defensive biology
Ecology, dispersal, diversity and distribution
Pheromones and mating behaviour
Genetics and individual variation
Zygaenids as indicator species
Pest zygaenids
Fossil record

A possible history of Australian Zygaenidae
Checklist of Australian Zygaenidae

Family Zygaenidae Latreille
Subfamily Procridinae Boisduval
Tribe Artonini Tarmann
Genus Pollanisus Walker
Genus Onceropyga Turner
Genus Hestiochora Meyrick
Genus Turneriprocris Bryk
Genus Myrtartona gen. n.
Genus Australartona gen. n.
Genus Homophylotis Turner
Genus Pseudoamuria gen. n.
Genus Palmartona gen. n.
Genus Thyrassia Butler
Appendix I: List of localities
Appendix II: CryoSEM figures of eggs and first instar larvae of Pollanisus subdolosa clara ssp. n.


Dr Gerhard Tarmann is Head of the Department of Natural History, Tiroler Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum, Innsbruck (Austria), where he developed a scientific centre for alpine lepidopterology. In his long and distinguished career he has undertaken more than 500 field trips throughout the world and has become widely recognised as one of the world’s leading experts on zygaenid moths. Since 1995 he has also lectured at the University of Innsbruck.