The several thousand specimens examined and photographed are in the extensive collections of the Natural History Museum, London (NHM), and the the private collections of Henry S. Barlow (HSB Coll.) at Genting Tea Estate (GTE), Pahang, Malaysia, Dr. Stephen L. Sutton & Dr. Terry M. Whitaker (SLS Coll.) currently held by TMW in Low Bentham, Lancaster, UK and Dr Christian H. Schulze at the University of Vienna (Schulze Coll.). Other collections examined include those at the Forest Research Centre (FRC), Sepilok, near Sandakan in Sabah; the Agricultural Research Centre, Tuaran, Sabah and an unnamed field collection held at the Danum Valley Field Centre (DVFC), Sabah. Professor Roger Kitching provided specimens from a field research collection from Brunei currently held at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia.
The Schulze Collection currently held in Vienna is the largest recent collection of Bornean pyraloid moths and, because of the freshness of colours this forms the core of our illustrations.
The HSB Coll. includes collections of Malaysian lepidoptera in three morphoseries, collected using a Rothamsted Insect Survey (RIS), trap from three sites:
i. Two years’ trapping 1979-80 and 1999-2000 at Genting Tea Estate (GTE), Pahang, at about 610m asl, in Peninsular Malaysia, some 30km NE of Kuala Lumpur.
ii. One year’s trapping at Belum in northern Perak, 1993-4 in the course of the Malaysian Nature Society’s one year expedition to an area adjacent to Sg. Halong.
iii. One year’s trapping at Borneo Rainforest Lodge (BRL), on the Sg. Danum, 10km from DVFC near the east coast of Sabah.
In addition the HSB Coll. contains lepidoptera from over 40 years collecting at GTE by both light trapping and other means.
The largest collection held in Borneo is that of FRC, Sepilok, Sabah under the able management of Dr. Chey Vun Khen but the collection ‘Borneensis’ held at Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), Kota Kinabalu by the Institute for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ITBC) is steadily growing.
Other Bornean lepidoptera collections have been made from the Danum Valley Conservation Area (DVCA) and near DVFC by Beck et al., (2006), Whitaker and Kitching, (2008) and Willott, (1999), and from Mount Kinabalu National Park (MKNP), Sabah (Beck, 1998, Holloway, 1976, Schulze, 2003) and Sarawak (Gg Mulu National Park) by Holloway et al. (Holloway, 1984)).
In the preparation for this website some of the type specimens have been photographed and included in a visual database of thyridid and pyralid morphotypes. However, in most cases images in this publication are not of the holotypes themselves but of specimens closely resembling these, because they are more recently collected, with brighter colours and in better condition.
On this website, where there is additional information on the ecology, habitat and distribution outside Borneo, this is given. Locality heights are given in metres as recorded on data labels. Where a single height is given this usually indicates that only one record is available.
Despite future diligent work of taxonomists and curators, the taxonomic revision of the collections will likely lag many years behind the rate of species accessions. Where there is great variability, species complexes are suspected and one would expect to distinguish several species unless detailed DNA or genitalic work proves otherwise. In other cases synonymies are suspected. This problem cannot be resolved until genitalic comparisons are undertaken and published. This work highlights possible species complexes and indicates variability within a supposed species series as areas where taxonomic work is most urgently needed. Where practical, different morphotypes within such a series are illustrated as undescribed species.
As noted in the 'Summary of Aims' and 'Overview', this work is not intended as a taxonomic revision: it is simply intended to provide a snapshot of the group, complete with its imperfect taxonomy, to aid field workers to separate most thyridid and pyralid moths at the genus and species levels. We wish to emphasise that the morphotypes we list are not necessarily new to science. They may be species for which we cannot safely attribute a name without further research. They may be synonymous with existing species. They may be subspecies or varieties. In some cases we suspect that males and females have not been matched up. Usually we know nothing of a particular 'species' except dates and localities of capture. The study of these two superfamilies in SE Asia is still in its infancy.