21st April, 2017
By MOHD IZHAM HASHIM
KOTA KINABALU: A Guide to the Lanternflies of Borneo, a 127-page book launched recently, puts the spotlight on some of Borneo’s most elegant, attractive and often brilliantly coloured lanternflies.
“The lanternflies, known to be one of the most ornate and extravagant species of the insect kingdom will be featured in this book in high quality photographs of 31 species and 3 subspecies of Lanternflies in Borneo,” said Managing Director of Natural History Publications (Borneo) Datuk C.L Chan at the launch held at Hyatt Regency here, on Wednesday.
The beautifully-illustrated book written by Dr Steven Bosuang, a senior author and Proprietor of Kipandi Park, with two French co-authors, Cederic Audibert and Thierry Porion, was officially launched by Guest of Honour Tan Jiew Hoe, who is the Director of the Board of Gardens By The Bay Singapore.
“Hailing from the insect family Fulgoridae, lanternflies are moderate to large sized insects, and are represented by some of the most spectacular plant hoppers and this book features Borneo’s 31 species and 3 subspecies which also includes one newly discovered taxon, Samsana Chesioniana Borneana from Sabah,” said Chan.
According to Chan, at least 20 species of lanternflies are found only in Borneo, which represents 63 per cent of the species.
“Lanternflies, characteristic of their longish snout, found throughout the year, are weak flyers and active during the day, they are general sap-feeders and doesn’t seem to be host-specific,” he said. On the other hand, the species bright display of colours – red, orange and blue serves as a vivid warning of their bitter taste to potential predators such as frogs, snakes, birds and small mamals.
Despite their superficial resemblance to butterflies, Chan noted lanternflies go through incomplete metamorphosis in five instars and their entire lifecycle takes about one year with one generation per year.
“Sabah is one of the most important sanctuaries for insects in Southeast Asia and is home to many rare and endemic species, including the lanternflies which are found only in Sabah due to its high mountains especially in the Crocker Range region,” said Dr Steven.
Dr Steven noted the lanternflies remain an under-studied topic with regards to its biology, ecology and behaviour and reproduction, while underlining the importance for conservation and efforts by the scientific community to study these fascinating species.