04 May 2007

Scribblers worth studying


"The scribbly gum is an icon of the Australian bush; a striking white-trunked Eucalypt with dark graffiti scribbled over it. The name derives not from the plant itself, but a phytophagous insect. The scrawl is the scar left by a small moth larva that burrows and feeds just under the bark. The scribbly gum moth was described 70 years ago, but since then almost nothing has been learned about it. The scribbles are extraordinarily variable, and about 20 different species of eucalypt are 'scribbly barks'. It may be that a number of moth species are involved. There are several species of scribbly gum moth (Ogmograptis) in ANIC, however the adults are rarely collected. Only one species has been described, and almost nothing is known of the larval ecology. A current project in the Australian National Botanic Gardens has resulted this year in the rediscovery of larvae and pupae of the moth. There are many questions here in ecology and coevolution that would make an excellent honours project."
- DR. JOHN TRUEMAN, supervisor, Entomology or Computational Phylogenetics Lab, Faculty of Science, School of Botany and Zoology, Australian National University:
"This lab offers honours projects in Entomology (often but not always in collaboration with research scientists at the CSIRO Division of Entomology) and other projects in computational methods for phylogenetic research and the delivery of biological data. Here are three representative projects and comments on some others . . ."

The scribbly gum project is only one of several fascinating forays listed.

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