The richly diverse moth population of Sri Lanka has a great friend in Nuwan Chathuranga Jayawardana. With an interest in moths and butterflies going back to childhood, Nuwan has spent much of his adult career photographing and documenting the South Asian island nation’s hundreds of moth species, even authoring a book on them.
Nuwan also has been organizing National Moth Week events every year, so it was completely natural that he should take on the role of country coordinator.
“It’s great to work with National Moth Week as the country coordinator for Sri Lanka,” Nuwan said. “I have participated in NMW since 2012 and started studying moths in 2010.
He and his wife, Anushamalee Jayawardana, are the authors of A Handbook to the Moths of Sri Lanka, Vol.01, published last year. “It is the first-ever guide to the moths of Sri Lanka since Frederic Moore’s work, The Lepidoptera of Ceylon (1882-87),” he said.
He also created the Moths of Sri Lanka on the iNaturalist platform in 2013, which includes data for NMW each year. The project has nearly 6,000 observations, 250 members and 700 moth species.
Nuwan has worked throughout Sri Lanka as a researcher for several research projects and surveys, in relation to Lepidopteran fauna.
He is an avid nature photographer and is currently engaged in providing voluntary online support for moth identifications in social media and citizen science projects such as iNaturalist, India Biodiversity Portal and Project Noah, which are all NMW partner organizations.
He also is one of the administrators of the Facebook group, “Butterfly interest group of Sri Lanka”.
Nuwan joined the Department of Wildlife Conservation in 2015 and presently works at DWC head office. He works tirelessly in order to safeguard the flora and fauna of Sri Lanka using his profession while using it as an opportunity to widen his knowledge as a lepidopterist.
For this year’s NMW, Nuwan is planning to hold a competition on iNaturalist. “The person who records the highest number of species during National Moth Week will win a copy of my moth guide,” he said.
Participants in the competition will have to register their moth-watching event with NMW. He plans to reach out via social media. Sounds like a great way to engage more people in mothing!