DixPix Photographs

     

INDONESIAN ARCHIPELAGO

 
     
  MOTHS AND BUTTERFLIES  

 

There have been over 200,000 species of Moths described so far.  Scientifically, Butterflies are a small, undefined grouping within the moths; it is not a technical term.  We tend to think of moths as fuzzy and nocturnal things that buzz around lights, and butterflies as more elegant, but there is no clearly defined division, all are of the Order Lepidoptera.

Unless otherwise noted, most of the moths shown here were photographed in Sumatra.  A much larger Sumatran presentation is available at Curupkami.  For anyone who really wants to dive off the deep end, Dr. J.D. Holloway has compiled data on over 4500 species of 'macro moths' in Borneo, which is coming out in 18 volumes, visit Moths of Borneo.

 

One of the most striking insects is the Malaysian Moon Moth, Actias maenas.  This species is largely found in Malaysia, Sumatra and Java, although there are closely related species through much of southeast Asian. Click to see big picture (640x395 pixels; 108 KB)
The Atlas Moth, Attacus atlas, is the world's largest, at least in terms of wing area.  It is found through southeast Asia, and in India is used to produce a form of brown silk. Click to see big picture (640x479 pixels; 114 KB)
The tips of the wings of the Atlas Moth look like angry snakes, a novel method of protection.  The triangular spots on the wings are actually clear membranes. Click to see big picture (640x390 pixels; 90 KB)
Here is another giant moth with clear membranes, in this case round ones which are supposed to scare off predators by looking like eyes of some large animal.  It is likely of the genus Antheraea. Click to see big picture (640x351 pixels; 76 KB)
A comparison of the wings of the two previous moths.  The underlying print is not clear when viewed from this distance. Click to see big picture (326x480 pixels; 78 KB)
Likely Antheraea larissa, with wing spots in a 'comma' form and wing tips that might be mistaken for a hunched snake.  The genus is sometimes referred to as the Giant Silk Moths.  Click to see big picture (640x346 pixels; 83 KB)
But when it comes to wings with windows, this smaller, unidentified moth takes the prize.  it is furthermore a bark mimic in overall expression. Click to see big picture (640x414 pixels; 81 KB)
While on the subject of bark mimics, here are a couple of species that have come to camouflage themselves almost perfectly as twigs, or pieces of tree trunk. Click to see big picture (593x480 pixels; 103 KB)
In the heavy-weight dividion, this appears to be something out of the Endoxyla genus.  Endoxyla makeri??? Click to see big picture (632x480 pixels; 116 KB)
A side view of the Endoxyla sp.? moth.. Click to see big picture (640x339 pixels; 84 KB)
A more normal coloration on a Hawk Moth, this one looking like a masked bandit.  Ambulyx pryeri, likely. Click to see big picture (640x427 pixels; 69 KB)
The Giant Uranid Moth, Lyssa zampa, is also found through most of southeast Asia. Click to see big picture (640x438 pixels; 151 KB)
A side view of the Uranid Moth. Click to see big picture (640x457 pixels; 72 KB)
This may be just a color variation of the Giant Uranid Moth, or perhaps a related species. Click to see big picture (361x480 pixels; 59 KB)
The Paper Kite Butterfly is also known as the Tree Nymph, Idea leuconoe.  It is native to Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo. Click to see big picture (597x480 pixels; 82 KB)
Paper kites with their striking black and white patterns seem to be a staple of butterfly zoos.  Perhaps because they can be fed fruit and are a home on a wide variety of flowers. Click to see big picture (579x480 pixels; 87 KB)
These Sumatrans are known as Day Moths, a term used for moths which are active during the day.  This appears to be Dysphania militaris. moth
This large and colorful species from New Guinea, appears to be Dysphania numana, whose range extends from Indonesia into tropical Australia.  The fancy term Peacock Jewel Moth is sometimes applied. Click to see big picture (640x434 pixels; 110 KB)
While this smaller example from the base of Mt. Kinabalu in Sabah is supposedly Kallima sp., according to our guide. Click to see big picture (432x480 pixels; 97 KB)
Back to central Sumatra for the Cruiser Butterfly, likely Vindula dejone erotoides. Click to see big picture (377x480 pixels; 66 KB)
Before the forests disappeared, night-lights in central Sumatra would draw an unbelievable variety of small to medium sized moths.  It is likely that only a few experts in the world could identify them with any certainty, but their sheer variety is amazing. Click to see big picture (616x480 pixels; 136 KB)
A delicate striped moth is worth mention in being colorful.  Anticrates sp.??? Click to see big picture (286x480 pixels; 85 KB)
A bright yellow moth in the form of a bow. Click to see big picture (320x480 pixels; 95 KB)
And here is one with a classic example of fake eyes, in fact it looks like an entire face of some creature. Click to see big picture (640x329 pixels; 124 KB)
A great many moths however, are of purposely drab colors, hoping to look like dead leaves or litter.  In the forest, a good camouflage. Click to see big picture (603x480 pixels; 124 KB)
This dead-leaf mimic has a strange proboscis, perhaps for getting at nectar in deep flowers. Click to see big picture (640x426 pixels; 109 KB)
And finally, where there are moths and butterflies, there are caterpillars and also grubs of other insects.  Some of these are colorful in their own right. Click to see big picture (537x480 pixels; 89 KB)