Exploration of local biodiversity starts even before you set off to one of the many tours available in the surroundings of Luang Namtha.
Today we would like to introduce to one of the small creatures that you’ll spot anywhere if you only stop for a second and look around. Arthropods, insects and spiders in particular, are often frowned upon or considered disgusting in the Western world, but actually they represent one of the biggest and oldest branches of the Tree of Life. They play an essential role in pollination among other things and they are also an excellent source of protein, which could make us reconsider Lao’s insect-based cuisine.
We will keep an overview of mouth-watering insect-based recipes for another post, as we would like this post to be a tribute to the dying Yellow Moth spotted on the wall of Forest Retreat Laos this week.
The Yellow Moth, Dysphania sagana, is a geometrid moth from Southeast Asia, Sumatra, Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo and has been reported in Northern Lao. Its larvae have been observed feeding on plants of the Carallia species, which, especially Carallia brachiata, is also an important source of nectar food for bees. As descripted by Wikipedia’s “moth writers”, the basal half of the forewings is chrome-yellow, while the outer half is bluish black, crossed by two bands of semitransparent white spots. The hindwings are chrome-yellow with a black spot at the end of the cell. The apex and a submarginal row of spots are black. The head, thorax and abdomen are yellow.
Luang Namtha is a preferred destination for enthomologists, who come here on exploration and often leave with one or more species named after them, because the rich arthropods local biodiversity has been little studied and much has yet to be identified. This encourages all of us to go out with our cameras and big eyes to spot the universe of biodiversity that the surroundings of Luang Namtha have to offer.
Here a small collection of the hundreds of arthropods we have photographed and that we need help in identifying! More to come!