Moths Of Sabah

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The moths of Sabah are a truly fascinating and diverse group of creatures. With over 10,000 species estimated to be present on the island of Borneo, Sabah boasts a vibrant and colorful moth fauna that plays a crucial role in the rainforest ecosystem.

Here’s a glimpse into the world of Sabah’s moths:


Variety and Size:

  • Size range: From tiny moths with a wingspan of just 3mm to the majestic Atlas moth, with its wingspan reaching up to 28cm, Sabah’s moths come in all shapes and sizes.
  • Colors and patterns: The diversity extends to their appearance as well. You’ll find moths adorned with vibrant colors like red, blue, yellow, and green, often sporting intricate patterns and camouflaged designs.

Ecological Roles:

  • Pollinators: Many moth species play a vital role in pollination, ensuring the survival of countless plant species in the rainforest.
  • Biodiversity indicators: The presence and abundance of different moth species can be used as an indicator of the overall health and biodiversity of the ecosystem.
  • Food source: Moths themselves are a crucial food source for predators like bats, birds, and insectivores, forming an important link in the rainforest food web.

Interesting Groups:

  • Hawk moths: These fast-flying moths, with their sleek bodies and powerful wings, are known for their ability to hover and even fly backwards.
  • Tiger moths: These brightly colored moths often have wing markings resembling tiger stripes, serving as a warning to predators.
  • Owlfly moths: These camouflaged moths resemble owls, complete with false eyespots, to scare away predators.

Resources to Learn More:

  • Sabah Forestry Department: The Sabah Forestry Department has published a booklet titled “Moths of Sabah: The Night-winged Beauties of the Rainforests,” which provides a great overview of the diversity and importance of Sabah’s moths.
  • iNaturalist: This citizen science platform allows you to explore observations of moths in Sabah and learn about their identification and distribution.
  • Field Guides: Several field guides are available for identifying moths in Borneo, including “Butterflies and Moths of Borneo” by John T. D. Holloway and “The Butterflies of Borneo” by J.C. Moulton.
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