'Lack of predators cause moths to thrive'

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 05 Jun 2014

PETALING JAYA: A lack of predators such as caterpillar-feeding birds could have led to the sudden swarm of giant moths in Kuantan and other parts of the country, said an expert.

Calling it “unprecedented” and “abnormal”, Universiti Kebang-saan Malaysia entomologist Dr Norela Sulaiman said the “invasion” by giant tropical swallowtail moths (Lyssa zampa) could be a “one-off occurrence”.

“I believe there is a lack of predators such as birds which usually eat the catterpillars,” said Dr Norela.

Entomological Society of Malaysia president Prof Dr Idris Abdul Ghani said the “invasion” could also be due to the large availability of food plants.

“At the same time, it could be that their natural enemies, such as parasites and other pathogens, are not active enough to harm them and they thrive,” he said.

Asked on reports that the moths had congregated at the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC), he said there could be host plants in the nearby Bukit Nenas forest reserve.

“The bright lights in KLCC could have attracted them there.”

Related story:

It's that time of the moth

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