In 2017, ClearWing Foundation for Biodiversity supported an expedition to Malaysian rainforests. Our Board, Marta Skowron Volponi and Paolo Volponi went for one and a half months to the primeval rainforest of Taman Negara, Malaysia in search of clearwing moths.
During the expedition one species of clearwing moth new to science and one which had been lost for over 130 years were found! The results of their field studies were originally published in ZooKeys and Tropical Conservation Science. Later, through a press release by Global Wildlife Conservation, they were picked up by numerous media, such as The Guardian, Science Magazine, The Scientist and The Dodo, among others.
Heterosphecia tawonoides Kallies, a “lost” species of clearwing moth known only from a single specimen from 1887 (the holotype, which is missing important morphological features), was observed and filmed for the first time in its natural habitat. Our studies have shown that it is associated with Malaysian primary lowland dipterocarp forests, ecosystems which are vanishing rapidly due to extensive human activity. This is the first record of H. tawonoides in Malaysia. Behavioral aspects, such as mud-puddling among bees and acoustic mimicry, are discussed and shown in a video. A morphological redescription, including features visible on live individuals only, is provided. The DNA barcode sequence is given, with comparison to closely related species.
A new species of clearwing moth, Pyrophleps ellawi, named in honour of ClearWing Foundation Co-founder, EL Law-
A new species of clearwing moth, Pyrophleps ellawi Skowron Volponi, sp. n., is described from Peninsular Malaysia. Information on the habitat, time and conditions of moccurrence, flight and mud-puddling behaviour, functional morphology, and DNA barcode are also provided. Photographs and a supplementary video from the wild demonstrate the postures and behaviour of this species of Pyrophleps, whose remaining members were described only on the basis of pinned specimens. This is the
first record of this genus in Peninsular Malaysia.