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Chin’s Nature Corner
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Malaysian Moths

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The Atlas Moth. Copyright © Chin Fah Shin. MOTHS are generally dull coloured and fly at night, and are seldom noticed. But there are moths which are colourful, like the spectacular Atlas Moth above, and moths which are diurnal in habit. This section of the Picture Gallery displays some moths that I have encountered while out looking for butterflies. They were photographed in a by-the-way manner only when I happened to see them. Butterflies are still my main interest as photography subjects.

     While I have many reference books on Malaysian butterflies, my resources on moths are rather limited. If you can identify the species shown here, particularly those at the bottom of the page, I would be happy if you will kindly let me know the name of the species, or email me if I've got the identification or facts wrong.

     Please click on either the thumbnail image or the name of the species to see a bigger picture of the moth (or larva, in some cases). The picture opens in a new window. You can navigate to a limited extent within that window. After viewing it, close that window to return to this page.

Family Thyrididae

Telchines vialis

Telchines vialis is a leaf-mimicking moth. With many lines on its wings simulating leaf veins and a golden brown colour, this moth bears some resemblance to a dead leaf. This species is found in northern India, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Family Limacodidae

Limacodid larva

This pretty larva of a Limacodid moth is armed with spines which can cause a nasty itch. I accidentally brushed my hand against this caterpillar while trying to photograph an insect, and it left a stinging sensation for hours on that part of my hand that had touched it.

Family Sphingidae

Ambulyx canescens

Ambulyx (formerly Oxyambulyx) canescens is considered a forest pest because its larvae feed on the leaves of young Dryobalanops lanceolata, a timber tree. This hawkmoth is found in Indochina, Malaysia, Sumatra, Java, Borneo and the Philippines.

Oleander Hawkmoth

The Oleander Hawkmoth (Daphnis nerii) has a very wide geographical range. This species occurs in the Afrotropical and Indo-Australian regions, and is known to migrate northwards to Europe. However, I have seen it only once.

Family Arctiidae

Nyctemera coleta

Nyctemera coleta belongs to a group of day-flying moths known as Marbled White Moths. It is a common species usually encountered in secondary growth. Besides Malaysia, it is also found in India, Sri Lanka to south China, Taiwan, the Philippines and New Guinea.

Wasp Moth

Amata huebneri is regarded as a wasp mimic with the common name of Wasp Moth. It is a day-flying species about the same size as a small wasp. This species was formerly known as Syntomis huebneri (subfamily Syntominae).

Handmaiden Moth

This is possibly Syntomoides (Ceryx) imaon. It is also a wasp mimic but is commonly known as the Handmaiden Moth. Like Amata huebneri, it is a day-flying species belonging to the subfamily Syntominae, but it is much larger than the former.


Leucoma sp

What drew my attention to this white moth is the satin-like gloss on its wings. This is a Leucoma sp., possibly impressa. Another completely white moth of about the same size found in Malaysia is Chasmina nigropunctata (Noctuidae).

Family Noctuidae

Yellow Underwing

Othreis smaragdipicta (Catocalinae) is a master of disguise that blends in perfectly with the detritus and green growth on the forest floor. Its common name of Yellow Underwing refers to its hindwings which "flash" to startle a would-be predator when it is disturbed and takes flight.

Ischyja inferna

Ischyja inferna (Catocalinae) is a leaf-mimicking moth that prefers to settle on the forest floor and "hide" among the dead leaves and other detritus. Its disguise would have been totally effective but for the bit of light blue on the hindwings which gave the moth away.

Asota caricae

Asota caricae (Aganainae) belongs to a group of moths commonly known as Tiger Moths. This species has a wide range and is found in the Indo-Australian region. The larval food plant is Ficus oppositifolia. The species has also been recorded as a pest of papaya.


Oreta sp.

This moth is another leaf mimic. It looks like a dead leaf that has fallen on a green (living) leaf in the forest understorey. A bit of forest detritus lying next to it makes the moth's disguise even more realistic. It is a species of Oreta, possibly bicolor (subfamily Oretinae).

Please see Page 2

 This page revised on 22 May 2005. Copyright © Chin Fah Shin.


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Some time ago, a visitor to my website Michel Chantraine sent me some photos of moths that he took Thailand, asking me if I could help him find out their names. I posted his photos in this section with a broadcast for help with their identification. I now have a response from an expert. (Thank you, YSH of Taiwan.) For the photos and IDs of those moth species, please turn to Moths of Thailand.

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