Deciphering Nature’s Message Stick, by Max Whitten, appears in the latest issue of Meanjin (Vol. 71, No. 2). The article recounts the history of our interest and research on scribbly gum moths and the marks their larvae leave on some smooth barked gums. It spans May Gibbs’ use of scribbles in illustrations and a poem by Judith Wright to the collection and description of the original scribbly gum moth, Ogmograptis scribula.
The article also summarises findings due to be published later this year in which Max Day, Marianne Horak and colleagues will describe eleven new species of Ogmograptis.I’m especially pleased about this as I predicted that there was more than single species of described moth by showing that distinct morphologies of scribbles occurred of different host tree species in earlier research (see here) . I’m thrilled too that Max included a passage from My Little World.
The article highlights or long-held fascination with these iconic scribbles. Max’s comments on scientific research directions today are food for thought too.