This page contains pictures and information about insects that we found in Sabah, Borneo Island.


Ichneumon sp BORNEO


Ichneumon Stephanidae sp BORNEO

An Stephanidae wasp (Crown Wasp) with red head, Borneo Island


Body length = 27mm
Ovipositor length = 32mm
Total body length = 59mm


The intimidating female Stephanidae Wasp has a tremendously long ovipositor for egg-laying, not for stinging.  2016-10-17 BANDAR SRI INDAH


The order Neuroptera is relatively small, containing only about 4,000 known species. Most members are predaceous, and some species are highly beneficial to man. Neuroptera of the family Chrysopidae, for example, feed voraciously on such pests as mites, aphids, corn earworms, and thrips. Included in the Neuroptera are such com- mon insects as the ant lions, alderflies, Dobsonflies, and lacewings.

The Neuroptera vary considerably in size and appearance, but their structure is fairly consistent in most species. Their most distinguishing structural features are four large transparent or translucent wings, decorated with intricate patterns of veins and cross- veins. The name Neuroptera means "nerve- winged," and refers to these patterns of venation.

Often beautifully colored, the wings are of about equal size and are usually held over the neuropteran's body when the in- sect is not in flight. Neuroptera of the small family Coniopterygidae, sometimes called dusty wings, are unusual in that their wings do not display the intricate venation found in the rest of the order; as a result, they are difficult to identify.

Most adult neuropterans have mobile heads, chewing rather than sucking mouth- parts, well-developed mandibles, long multi- segmented antennae, and protruding eyes. In a few species the eyes are missing. The thorax varies in shape according to the species. The front legs are strong and used to grasp the insect's prey. The hind legs are often extremely long.

The Neuroptera undergo complete meta- morphosis. The larvae are elongated and somewhat flattened, and are found on the ground, in topsoil, and in trees. The larvae of ant lions and lacewings are equipped with long, sickle-shaped jaws. In these Neuroptera the mandibles and maxillae are grooved in such a way that when they are held together they form two long tubes. The larvae stab their prey with these tubes and then inject the captured animal with a toxic secretion. The tubes are then used to suck the body fluids of the conquered prey. In some species, the larvae are parasitic. Larvae of the family Mantispidae, for example, are found in the egg sacs of spiders.

The larvae of some species pupate in cells in the topsoil, but most weave silken co- coons. Unlike most other insects, neuropterans spin silk from material secreted by the excretory Malphighian tubes rather than from material produced by modified salivary glands. The Neuroptera spend most of their lives as larvae. The adults have a brief life span, and are usually seen at dusk or flying around lights during the night. The males emit odors in order to attract the females.

An exotic neuropteran is Necrophilus arenarius. Its larvae develop in the galleries of the pyramids, and find prey there.

Dobsonflies and Fishflies-Corydalidae
Brown Lace-wings-Hemerobiidae
Mantid Flies-Mantispidae
Common Lacewings-Chrysopidae
Ant Lions-Myrmeleontidae



Ianni Butterfly
The Phasmid Study Group
Jewel Beetles
Bugs in Cyberspace
Insects International
S.A.R.L. Chaminade
Taiwan Insects
Thai Bugs
Russian Insects

Worldwide Butterfly


Cricket (insect)

Crickets, family Gryllidae, are related to grasshoppers, and more closely related to katydids or bush crickets (family Tettigoniidae).

They have flattened bodies and long antennae.

There are about 900 species of crickets. They are often confused with grasshoppers because they have a similar body structure including jumping hind legs.
Crickets are harmless.

A diverse and abundant insect group in Sabah.

There are five species of honeybees in Sabah, of which two are common among the local community.

Honey produced by the cultured honeybees and also the giant wild honeybees is very much sought after by the local people as health food. The brood is also claimed to be highly nutritious, and is often taken raw, or cooked in porridge or rice.

Honeybee breeding in Sabah is practiced by the Rungus community at northern Sabah and also the Kadazandusun community at the Kinabalu foothills. The giant wild honeybee often nests on the ‘mengaris’, the tallest tree species in Sabah.


Beetles are second to butterflies and moths in terms of popularity. However, beetles constitute the largest and most diverse order of insects. The body is usually armoured with its hard forewings and some are often brilliantly coloured. The largest in Sabah, a giant longhorned beetle can grow up to 100 mm. Many of the larger beetles are attracted to light and thus can be easily spotted at various nature resorts in Sabah, such as Kinabalu Park, Poring Hot Springs and Danum Valley. Among the common ones are the three-horned beetles, stag beetles and also the long-horned beetles.

The bees, wasps and ants are yet another diverse and abundant insect group in Sabah.

You may say that ants are small and insignificant. So, there’s nothing special to observe. Perhaps it is true to a certain extent, to appreciate the beauty of this tiny living creature. However, tourists who walk in the rainforests would not have missed the giant forest ant (otherwise you wouldn’t have been into the Sabah rain forest!). It is one of the largest ant species in the world! During daytime, some worker ants can be observed foraging solitarily on the ground. It is actually a nocturnal species where thousands of them would march up to the forest canopy in search of food. The best time to observe this is at dusk, at the base of a fairly large dipterocarp tree in the forest such as at Danum Valley, Sepilok Forest Reserve or Poring Hot Springs.



Tropical Dragonflies and Damselflies :

Euphaea impar (Selys, 1859)
Euphaea subcostalis


These insects look very much like dragonflies. But they have long, knobbed antennae.

Owlflies hang under plants near water. They lay eggs on stems of aquatic plants. Juveniles live underwater, hunting tadpoles and smaller insects. They crawl up plant stems out of water to pupate, and later emerge from the cocoon as winged adults.

More about owlfly of Sabah...

Agorius sp ESPLANATE Jerzego alboguttata
Bavia sp ESPLANADEEda sp EDAPortia fimbriata Male

A Gallery of  Spider Species

Ant mimicry spiders


Tropical Dragonflies

Tropical Dragonflies and Damselflies :

Dragonflies of Sabah

Demselflies of Sabah


English Name: Dobsonfly
Family: Corydalidae (Dobsonflies)
Genus: Corydalus
Species: cf. leteus


The Emerald Cockroach Wasp

(Ampulex compressa, also known as the jewel wasp)

This wasp stings a cockroach in the brain to take away the cockroach escape reflex and then steers the victim with its antennae into her burrow and lays her eggs on it. With escape reflex disabled, the cockroach will just rest still while the wasp larva burrows into it's body, eats it internal organs and then pupates inside its body....

20 protected insect species in Sabah

Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) has gazetted 20 species of insects to be protected under the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997.

With  inclusion of the new lists of insects in the enactment, individuals caught bringing out the insects from Sabah can be fined up to RM30,000 or jailed three years.

The listing of the insects in the protected list was geared to stop irresponsible individuals from exploiting the natural resources in Sabah and bringing them out of the state easily.

Sabah government aware that wildlife were natural assets that had high potential in the development of the tourism industry in Sabah.

After 50 years in conserving wildlife, Sabah was still proud as her natural resources continued to be looked after.

The natural resources had attracted tourists to continuously visit the state .

Sabah is home to various wildlife species … but the natural habitats of these must be managed well in order to continue being attractive.
Changes had occurred in the last 50 years and among them had been the clearing of more forest areas for agriculture.

Such activities have impacted on the wildlife and their habitats. They have also resulted in human-animal conflicts
Sabah has 20 per cent of its area gazetted as protected areas.

Sabah had continued to be a strong fortress for the orang utan population.

Conservation efforts since 50 years ago have ensured that there are still 13,000 orang utans living in the wild in Sabah and will continue to thrive here forever


BEETLES (Order Coleoptera)
Longhorn Beetles of sabah


Bark gnawing Beetles - Ostomidae

Rove Beetles-Staphylinidae

Ground Beetles - Carabidae

25,000 species of Carabida in the world



Rhomborrhina splendida

Rhomborrhina splendida

Family : Cetonidae - flower beetles


Rhinoceros beetle

 Rhinoceros beetle is among the most spectacular beetles.

Wasp of Borneo

Praying mantids

Praying mantids

These species of insect ambush their victims. They wait patiently for insects to settle within their area, in which many are coloured to match their background of green or withered leaves, or flowers.

Mantis has formidable, spined forelimbs specially adapted for seizing and holding prey. These are just some of the highlights of the myriad of insects and their life forms in tropical Sabah....




Grasshopper exuviae



Butterfly Gray

Black Butterfly


  Eggs of insects


Cicada of Malaysia


BUTTERFLIES AND MOTHS, Caterpillar, Centipede

Among all insects, butterflies and moths have always been popular because of they are relatively large, colourful and attractive. The Rajah Brooke’s birdwing is as outstanding among the Sabah butterflies as the Atlas moth is among the moths. The birdwing was discovered by the famous British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace in Borneo in 1855 and it was named after Sir James Brooke, the Rajah of Sarawak. The male Rajah Brooke’s birdwing may often be seen on the ground along small streams, drinking water of seepages and saline springs, but the female, which is less commonly seen, flies high among the trees in the rain forest. The Atlas moth, which is attracted to light, is the world’s largest moth, with a wingspan up to 30 cm. The patterns on the wings are spectacular, with a black spot on the curved tip of each forewing resembling the head of a snake—to frighten the intruder away. Sadly, the adult only lives a short life because it has no mouth and cannot eat. Beside the two spectacular species, there are other equally striking butterflies typical to Sabah worth looking out for.



Structure and Anatomy
Reproduction and Development
Carpenter and Leopard Moths-Cossidae
Clothes Moths and Others-Tineidae
Ermine Moths-Yponomeutidae
Grain Moths and Others-Gelechiidae
Mexican Jumping Beans-Tortricidae
Leaf Blotch Miners-Gracilariidae
Processionary Caterpillars-
Gypsy and Tussock Moths-Lymantriidae
Tiger and Footman Moths-Arctiidae
Owlet Moths-Noctuidae
Hawk and Sphinx Moths-Sphingidae
Giant Silkworm Moths-Saturniidae
Flannel Moths-Megalopygidae
Tent Caterpillars-Lasiocampidae
Gossamer-winged Butterflies-Lycaenidae

Ant of Sabah

Welcome to this new site about insects of Malaysia. This site contains information about tropical insects and  photographs of various species. Take your time in exploring this site, and come back often to for updates and new information.

Sabah is in Borneo Island. An island which is home to three countries. An island of 746,000 sq km of land area. It is home to 221 species of mammals, 620 species of birds, 15,000 plant species of which 35% are endemic to the area - and over 150 species of dipterocarp trees.

In Sabah, every jungle tree sits 1,000+ species of insects. Many new species are still being found. New discoveries make up a total of 360 new species found over the past ten years in Borneo Island alone. That's an astonishing three discoveries a month!

There is a myriad of insect life in Malaysia, most of them legionary. The most beautiful are the butterflies, of which there are about 1,000 species. Also numerous are the moths, the largest and the most famous being the Atlas Moth. The attractive dragonflies and damselflies are always found close to the water where they lay eggs. Malaysia has three types of bees - the stingless bee, giant honeybee and hive bee, all of which produce honey. Their relatives, the hymenopteran species of hornets and wasps are feared for their fierce stings. Some wasps species, however, act as biological control agents. Ants and termites, which belong to groups of similar structure but different orders, are found in forests and homes.

Many Malaysian ants are known for their painful bites, while termites can destroy whole fields of crops and bring down entire buildings.

In the tropical rainforest, there are fascinating stick insects with an uncanny resemblance to leaves or sticks that provides perfect camouflage from predators. Many species of bugs such as weevils destroy crops although there are some other beetles which are beneficial as they devour other insect pests. Among the most spectacular beetles are the rhinoceros beetle, the stag beetle and the long-horned beetle. One can always sense the noisy presence of grasshoppers, cicadas and crickets; and feel the irritating bite of the ubiquitous mosquitoes. Other invertebrates that are best avoided are the scorpion, the centipede and certain spiders, while the predatory leech dominates the damp jungle floor

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Ant mimicry spiders


Most people first encounter insects as young children with colourful creatures such as butterflies often being among the first wild animals they ever see.  Insects can be found in almost every kind of habitat on Earth,  and occur in a spectacular array of forms.  They are the most numerous and diverse group of all animals.  Although many such as mosquitoes, aphids, termites, and horse flies are harmful to mankind,
others are beneficial. These include pollinators like bees and butterflies, as well as vast numbers of species which prey on pests—examples range from ladybugs and lacewings to praying mantids and dragonflies. So far, science has recorded around 360,000 species of beetle,180,000 kinds of butterfly and moth,120,000 flies,110,000 bees, wasps, and ants,82,000 true bugs,20,000 grasshoppers,5,000 dragonflies,2,000 praying mantids, and many many others. It is thought, however, that there may be more than ten times as many more。
Tragically, large numbers of insects across the world are being made extinct as the result of human activities such as rampant deforestation and widespread pollution. For this reason, it is more important than ever for people to learn what they can about wildlife, and then to do anything possible to help preserve it.

This site sets out to present the many different types of insect one can expect to see in Sabah. From the delicate wonders of butterflies and moths, through various kinds of dragonflies, true flies, bees, wasps, and ants, as well as grasshoppers, bugs, beetles, antlions, mantids, phasmids, and termites.

For insect enthusiasts, the butterfly farm at Poring Hot Springs, the insect exhibits at Gunung Alab Resort (Kota Kinabalu-Tambunan highway), the Insect Museum of the Sepilok Forest Research Centre and the Sabah Museum in Kota Kinabalu are some of the places of interest.

Ground Beetles-Carabidae
Whirligig Beetles-Gyrinidae
Bog and Skiff Beetles-Myxophaga
Omnivorous Beetles-Polyphaga
Fruitworm Beetles- Byturidae
Water Scavenger Beetles-Hydrophilidae
Hister Beetles-Histeridae
Carrion Beetles-Silphidae
Short-winged Mold Beetles and Ant-loving Beetles-Pselaphidae and Clavigeridae
Ant-like Stone Beetles- Scydmaenidae
Shining Fungus Beetles-Scaphidiidae
Stag Beetles-Lucanidae
Dung Beetles-Geotrupidae
Scarab Beetles-Scarabaeidae
Click Beetles-Elateridae
Metallic Wood'boring Beetles-Buprestidae
Lightning Bugs-Lampyridae
Soldier Beetles-Cantharidae
Skin Beetles-Dermestidae
Net-winged Beetles-Lycidae
Powder-post Beetles-Lyctidae
Checkered Beetles-Cleridae
Twig Borers-Bostrichidae
Ship-timber Beetles-Lymexylidae

Flat Bark Beetles-Cucujidae

Dried-fruit and Sap Beetles - Nitidulidae

Fungus Eaters-Erotylidae
Flat Grain Beetles-Silvanidae

Rooteating Beetles - Rhizophagidae

Silken Fungus Beetles- Cryptophagidae

Handsome Fungus Beetles - Endomychidae

Darkling Beetles-Tenebrionidae
Tumbling Flower Beetles-Mordellidae
Comb-clawed Beetles-Alleculidae
Ant-like Flower Beetles-Anthicidae
Blister Beetles-Meloidae
False Blister Beetles-Oedemeridae
Long-horned Beetles-Cerambycidae
Leaf Beetles-Chrysomelidae
Seed Beetles-Bruchidae
Snout Beetles-Curculionoidea


Stick insects are unique. They are usually slow moving, and rely mainly on concealment for protection from their enemies. The elongated body of the stick insect, which looks like a twig, is a remarkable example of natural camouflage. The resemblance is often enhanced by appropriate colours and postures. The longest insect in the world is a stick insect of 555 mm, recorded in Malaysia. Some are spiny and look ferocious such as the endemic Haaniella echinata but they all feed on plants and are harmless. It is best to look for stick insects in the forest at night preferably after an evening drizzle.

Asian Tiger Mosquito of Sabah

The pristine tropical rainforests in Sabah has one of the richest biodiversity in the world.

Fifteen years ago, this word was hardly known but today it is one of the most commonly used expressions in the biological sciences and among the general public as well. It is the rich biodiversity of flora and fauna in Sabah that has enabled this Malaysian state to excel in nature tourism. We have the world’s largest flower Rafflesia, the spectacular slipper orchid, the man of the forest ‘orang utan’ and the endemic proboscis monkey, just to name a few. These are, of course, the notable and remarkable ones. Have you ever wondered which group of organisms contributed the most to the rich biodiversity in Sabah? It is none other than insects.

There are more than a million named insect species in the world, and as exploration of our fauna advances, this number constantly increases. Globally, this group covers about 75% of the fauna and flora. In comparison, there are only about 45,000 vertebrate species and 250,000 plant species. Tourist attraction on insects of Sabah may not be as profound as those shown on rafflesias, slipper orchids or the larger mammals of Sabah. However, the high diversity of Sabah insects is something to be proud of, and it is potentially significant in promoting nature tourism, or entotourism, to be precise.


Termites are common in the rain forest but are often mistaken as ants, due to their similar foraging behaviour and organisation pattern. Surprisingly, they are akin to cockroaches. Although they are often labelled as pests, causing destruction worth millions of ringgit to wooden structures and buildings in Sabah, they are ecologically important as decomposers in the rainforests. Besides, they are great architects too, judging from the variety of nest structures constructed by them in the forest. The collective stridulating sound produced by insects in the evening is a typical ‘concert’ atmosphere of the rain forest in Sabah. The cicadas are one of them. They are actually singing. The mating songs are produced by a pair of abdominal organs of the male cicada to attract the female. If you are standing right below a tree with lots of cicadas, you will feel as though it’s drizzling. This is because of the fine droplets of excess water produced by the cicadas after feeding on the plant sap.





INDEX : Insects   October 23, 2016 06:30:24 AM