Welcome to the Butterflies of Peninsular Malaysia Scratchpad

Despite being charismatic insects, who have captured the imagination of many cultures, and their crucial role as models in biodiversity studies examining conservation priorities and climate change, our understanding of butterflies is incomplete. This scratchpad will use existing museum collections to assemble an online, open library for all 1182(??) species and subspecies of butterflies currently present in Peninsular Malaysia. Distant (1882-1886) in his guide included 503 species arranged in 143 genera. 70 years later, Corbet & Pendlebury (1956) listed 898 species.

We appreciate any help with this! The first step has been the photographing and aggregation of specimen records for all butterflies in the Museum of Zoology (University of Malaya) collection.

The associated DNA barcode library (Wilson, Sing & Sofian-Azirun, 2013) will form the basis of an efficient molecular taxonomic tool to identify butterflies to species. The assembly of a comprehensive and DNA barcoded butterfly collection, the first for any tropical region, will enhance the status of the Museum of Zoology (University of Malaya) as a notable biorepository and stimulate further taxonomic and DNA barcoding research on other animal groups at the museum and nationwide.

The team behind this project are also involved in a citizen science project, the School Butterfly Project, involving butterflies and schoolchildren across Peninsular Malaysia (see Wilson & Sing, 2013). The images on this scratchpad will help in species identification of butterflies for this project. If you would like to get involved or have ideas to share, please get in touch!