Enigma Moth - Donation to Wildlife Australia - FNPW

Enigma Moth

of Kangaroo Island

  • YEAR: 2017
  • STATE: South Australia
  • FOCUS AREAS: Saving Species/SDG 15: Life on Land

The Enigma moth is a beautiful, rare and iconic insect of international scientific importance. It will be promoted as an icon of Kangaroo Island. By communicating information on the Enigma moth and the importance of other insects on KI we hope to gain community support and promote community ownership of the conservation of insects and biodiversity generally.

Consideration of invertebrates is often overlooked in biodiversity assessments which often target larger species. This project will improve the community’s understanding of their huge contribution to biodiversity and their importance to the functioning and resilience of natural and agricultural systems. A better understanding of the distribution of the Enigma moth on KI and the services it provides to biodiversity has the potential to unite the Island’s community in protecting an endangered icon. Opportunities for community involvement include: field days, seminars and school visits.

FNPW support

This project was funded through generous donations from FNPW supporters across Australia and beyond.

Project overview

The Enigma moth is a new species of primitive moth which is known from just one discrete site on Kangaroo Island. It is the sole representative of a new family of primitive moths, the first discovered since the 1970s. Its discovery sparked an international scientific collaboration and it also received significant media attention after publicity by the CSIRO in March 2015.

Its distribution, some aspects of its biology and details of its interaction with a new species of wasp are yet to be determined. The urgency of the need to conserve this species was raised in Kristensen et al. (2015). This project seeks to address this through improving knowledge of its distribution and disseminating information of the discovery of this iconic insect locally as a means of raising awareness of the diversity and importance of invertebrates generally among the KI community. The ecosystem services that insects provide will be highlighted.

The conservation focus was driven by a previous scientific study (Kristensen et al. (2015) which sought to describe the moth (and family it represents) and to understand its placement in the evolutionary order of moths/butterflies. This proposal seeks to address obvious questions arising from that study such as Enigma moth distribution, and also to disseminate the story of its discovery and importance among the KI community. This proposal was developed in conjunction with the discoverer of the moth, and an author of the related science paper, Dr Richard Glatz.

As well, raising awareness in the community of the importance of biodiversity and connecting people to nature are key goals in the KI NRM Plan and the DEWNR Corporate Plan 2012-14.

Enigma Moth Habitat R Glatz


FNPW supports projects across Australia. In the spirit of reconciliation we acknowledge the Traditional Owners of Country and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture.


The project was completed in 2017.

This project was funded by FNPW in 2015.


SA Department for Environment and Water is the lead organisation for this project.

Further information about our project partner can be found on their website:


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