Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Moths of Kinabalu

Moths - similar to Butterfly belongs to the Order of Lepidoptera (or Scaly Wings) belonging to the Class of Insecta.

Chief differences to the other insects are
a. Sex determination is via the ZW where the ovum determines the sex of the offspring.
(Unlike the XY Sex Determination where the sperm determines the sex of the offspring)
b. Dense setae (scales) on the wings. In other insects, the wings are usually transparent
/transclusent memberanes.
c. Multi hue and pattern on the wings. The scales itself form a type of light trap where light
frequency get adjusted. Thus the colours on the wings change as one shifts one's position
when looking at them.
d. Larvae of such insect has mouth structure and glands that can secrete silk.
Spider does it but through their abdomen.

There has been many misconception about moth - that it is dull and nocturnal. On the contrary - moths are as colourful as butterflies, if not more colourful!

For these collection of Moths that you are seeing, all are from Kinabalu National Park. Why Moths and not Butterflies, well for one thing - it was easier to photograph them than attempt to chase after butterflies. With the light on, they came in drove, and then happily settle on the wall, floor, doors etc. And with the temperature dropping at night, at 1,500 m, these creatures become very docile and even by placing the camera just 2 cm away from them, does not scoot them away! And secondly, there are more variation (Family) in moths than butterflies, and thus there are more shape and size.

Notice the numbers of moths just on a single wall!
Below are the pictures of moths taken in the morning, when the moths were still in "sleepy" stupor.

Unfortunately, my knowledge of moths are not good, and I can only identify one species (attacus Atlas) - the rest I hope you can help me to identify.

Atlas Moth (attacus Atlas)

Future shape of a Steath Aircraft!

Does this moth looks like a bee or beetle?