Malayan Moth Madness

I seem to have neglected to post anything about my second foray to Fraser’s Hill in Peninsular Malaysia. That must be remedied.

I went without Mrs Ha because a) she doesn’t like moths, b) she likes sleeping and c) the road up to Fraser’s Hill makes her car sick. She went shopping somewhere, Seoul I think. Fraser’s Hill is a wonderful place for mothing but I should have realised that the weather would be rather inclement by night. Sadly, that’s when moths get up to most of their mischief. I think it is fair to say that I spent 4 nights dodging downpours. The white sheet turned a soggy grey colour. The lawn was muddy underfoot favouring leeches more than humans. On the 4th night the wind ripped through the moth sheet and put an early end to the mothing. Was the trip worth it? You decide. Let’s start with Loepa siamensis ssp. malayensis and a host of hangers on.

Loepa siamensis ssp. malayensis

Very similar to Loepa lampei!

Loepa lampei

Don’t shoot Aspara radians, he’s only the piano player.

Apsarasa radians

Glanycus coendersi is a very scarce and sought after moth at Fraser’s Hill

Glanycus coendersi

Brahmaea hearseyi – my 3rd in 20 years

Brahmaea hearseyi

Sarcinodes vultuaria on a stick – lovely

Sarcinodes vultuaria

And let’s finish with a lesser atlas moth, Samia kohlli,

Samia kohlli

These are the some of the larger and more exotic moths but I can easily see 300+ species in 4 nights. I am due to go back at Easter and I sincerely hope it will be possible as the coronavirus is starting to restrict travel in and out of Hong Kong.

All photos shot with a Canon 5D3, a Tamron 90mm macro lens and a Canon dual-headed flash with tailor-made diffusers. Huge thanks to Stephen Hogg and family for their wonderful B&B hospitality,

31 thoughts on “Malayan Moth Madness

  1. You amaze me, Andrew. To think such incredible beauty is out there lurking in the dark and damp. I would say, definitely worth the trouble! ….leeches in the grass, though? That might be a bit much for me to face.

      • And brave you are, too. Are they more active at night? Here we only have leeches in some lakes, but we do have an increasing number of ticks. shudder.

  2. Worth it, worth it, worth it!!! I’m only vaguely aware of mothing and using white sheets, but, being a plant-lover and a birder from way back, I get it. And what incredible species Malaysia has to offer! I admire them all, including the hangers-on, but especially the Brahmaea, maybe partly because of the (familiar-looking) mosses underfoot, but also for the warm brown patterns. Oh my, thank you. Things may not look great for more travel right now, but we will be patient, right?

    • I have rebooked my trip for September with no idea whether it will happen but we have to stay optimistic. Malaysia is a wonderful country but has a big problem with illegal logging so faces a real threat of habitat destruction. I enjoy it whilst it lasts.

      • Logging has always been a mainstay of the economy up here (well, since the white man’s arrival). Of course, it’s a whole other political and social world than in Malaysia, and many practices have improved since the early days. Let’s hope September is a go!

  3. Yup. Worth it. Those are some beauties and I take it not to be sen in HK. The clothes dry out and the mud washes off the shoes, but the images last forev…well, a long time.

    • I think a couple may be possible in HK Steve but only with a lot of luck and/or effort. My Easter trip has been cancelled due to the coronavirus. Very disappointing.

      • Yes, I imagine that it is, Andrew. It’d be an even greater disappointment to contract the bugger virus. Another friend, Lynn @ bluebrightly, had to cancel a trip long planned for to Viet Nam for the same reason. Better safe than sorry. We just have to hope it lags once the warm weather returns but that may boost it instead. Who knows but it’s a scourge for sure.

  4. These are astonishing, beautiful and offer some hope in a world where moths seem to be disappearing fast. I can’t help wondering if my father – who taught me to make moth traps when I was small – met some of these guys when he was a POW in Thailand.

    • The loss of moths is worrying indeed and habitat destruction, light pollution and the like must all be contributing. I went on a walk through a jungle ‘tunnel complex’ recently in Vietnam. No insects to speak of. The area is sprayed daily to stop them bothering tourists. We are a very selfish society. I hope your father would have met many. There is a series of books on the Moths of Thailand (still a WIP) and I treasure my well-thumbed copies.

  5. Despite the weather, the photos are glorious. I especially enjoyed seeing Aspara radians. Well, and Glanycus coendersi. Like many people, I’ve tended to associate butterflies with brilliant color, rather than moths, but these certainly challenge that assumption. Even the patterning on the less colorful is wonderful, and Sarcinodes vultuaria looks like one of the cone-shaped hats common there.

    • Thanks Linda. Yes the cryptic colouring also has its attractive side. Some of the most beautiful are the micro moths but I saw few last time probably because of the weather. Never underestimate a moth.

  6. Oh, Andrew, i had a small idea of the variety and beauty of moths, but you have knocked my socks off with this selection. I hope you were satisfied with your captures, with the bad weather.

    The little white interloper in the first photo looks like it was fashioned from and old-fashioned crochet doily!

    As I scrolled down, I kept making little gasping noises, each one was so special.

    Thank you for introducing us to the WWoMs!!!

  7. The photo’s certainly show it was worthwhile but I think I’d hope for rather drier weather conditions next time – unless that means that the moths won’t appear in such numbers and variety. That said, on a personal basis, I think I’d be opting for Mrs. H. option b).

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