The loss of any species is a tragedy, but the rapid disappearance of bogong moths has much wider effects

It’s conventional wisdom among wildlife lovers that the more charismatic an animal is, the higher its profile. Cute and cuddly species – fuzzy mammals and colourful birds – grab the public’s attention, while less obviously appealing animals struggle in obscurity. In eastern Australia one famous insect is an exception to this rule.

In appearance, the bogong moth is perfectly average: it doesn’t stand out from all the other anonymous moths of the night in size or colour. It’s small, but not remarkably small, and brown, but a drab mousy brown. You wouldn’t look twice at it, but for one thing: the sheer numbers in which it congregates.

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