December 2011

(updated on 6th June 2012)

other issues of our Newsletter:

August 2008 - March 2009 - November 2009 - October 2010

The Papua Insects Foundation



The latest news on the Papua Insects Foundation, its website and other relevant items concerning the entomology study in New Guinea

With this newsletter we want to inform you about the latest developments, news and changes in the website and activities of the Papua Insects Foundation and other interesting entomological news of New Guinea. If you have any questions or comments on this, please contact us.

NEW! A film of fighting longhorn beetles (Batocera laena), made by Siep Sinnema during our latest field trip to Papua in November 2011!



Click here to watch this film (1.42 minutes).





The fifth expedition of the Papua Insects Foundation, a success with new contacts and new species

From 23rd October to 1st December 2011 a group of eight people went to Papua for a fifth expedition of the Papua Insects Foundation. This time we mainly focussed on the Birdshead Peninsula (Doberai Peninsula or Kepala Burung).

Members of the survey were Rob de Vos (Lepidoptera), Gerrit Withaar (Coleoptera), Piet Zumkehr (Lepidoptera), Harry Smit (Acari (watermites), missing on the left picture), Siep Sinnema and his wife Jannie (both Lepidoptera), Sandra Lamberts (insect photography) and Joop Schaffers (insect photography, missing on the left picture). Unfortunately Joop Schaffers decided to go home early in the second week, therefore the actual survey in the Birdshead Peninsula was with seven members.

Individual visits were undertaken to the Baliem Valley and Lake Habbema and to the villages Genyem (West of the Cyclops Mountains) and Ampas (southern area of Jayapura District). But most important was our visit to the Birdshead Peninsula in the Arfak Mountains (Mokwam, Demaisi, Kobrey, Benyas (Neney [Ninay] Valley)) and to Senopi in the centre of the Peninsula in the Tamrau Plateau. Apart from the success of having found new species of cicadas, moths and watermites, our greatest benefits were the new contacts we had with UNIPA, the University of Manokwari.









In Manokwari we visited the "Universitas Negeri Papua" (UNIPA) where we had contact with teacher and entomologist Mrs. Drs. Rawati Panjaitan and Trivona (Ona) Helena Tuririday. Without their help it was impossible to accomplish our plans, but we are also thankfull to Ika Pujiningrum Palimbunga and to Maya, who did a wonderful and professional translation from English into Bahasa Indonesia of our introductionary lecture on the basics of entomology. Now two major universities in Papua, UNCEN in Waena and UNIPA in Manokwari, are cooperating in our projects. The fact, that students in Papua are interested and motivated, was proved by the great number of visitors of the lecture (60) and demonstration on light collecting (about 45)! We hope that in the future this cooperation will result in more student projects, fieldwork and publications.

Note the stylized butterfly in the logo of UNIPA!







The visit to Mokwam was very impressive. A small village at the Northside of the Arfak Mountains at 1500 meters, nowadays well attainable by 4x4 cars and with a semi-luxury accomodation for adventurers, run by Zeth Wonggor. Many bird watchers visit this place for the famous Bower Birds and Birds of Paradise, but this place proved to be also very successful for surveying insects. Many new moth species were found, mostly smaller Tiger Moths (Erebidae, Arctiinae, Lithosiini). The foggy forest with wealthy beard moss vegetation is a good source of these local and endemic species.


The Anggi Lakes, Gigi and Gita

Just recently there is a road over the Arfak Mountains from North to South, from Mokwam to the Anggi Lakes. The road is for the major part a track with rocks and mud and therefore far from comfortable but it gives opportunity to visit the remote areas in the Arfak at high altitudes. Traveling from North to South we passed several villages of which Demaisi (1637 meters), Kobrey (1957 meters) and Benyas (722 meters) were our overnight places. Demaisi was succesfull in collecting at light, Kobrey was beautifully located at Lake Gigi (the northern Anggi lake) but it was very cold with lots of wind and rain. Moreover, we had some severe trouble with our generator which resulted in short evenings of light collecting or sometimes not at all. Benyas is a small village in the famous Neney Valley (formerly known as Ninay Valley), a real butterfly valley at the Southside of the Arfak Mountains where historical expeditions have been before. The southern lake Gita was not visited overnight so we had no collecting at light here, although it looked very promissing for good species. Despite of the trouble with the generator, we can draw the conclusion that many good and even new species were obtained (see also below) during this Arfak trip.




The village Senopi is located in the centre and lowland of the northern Birdshead Peninsula, near the Tamrau Mountains. Traveling from Manokwari to Senopi is nowadays possible by 4x4 car. The regular service with small aircrafts has ended since about one year since the road connected Manokwari with Sorong. However, especially in the Tamrau Plateau this road is far from being comfortable and excellent driving skills with 4x4 vehicles are required. Traveling from Manokwari to the West the first part of the journey leads through cultivated plantage areas where the part with "endless" acres of oil palm trees is very depressing. Then the voyage continues through the wide natural grassland area of Kebar. This area could well be the bottom of a long gone lake (compare the plains of the Baliem Valley and Sibil Valley in the Star Mountains). Approaching Senopi the natural forest comes in sight more extensive. Although the new road and the nearby villages take their toll to the forest there is still quite some forest left and although the Tamrau Mountain Range may be well in sight, it is hard to reach it because it is completely covered by wealthy forest without any roads. The hospitality of the people of Senopi and that of Pastor Yan in particular was heartwarming. We could stay a few days in Pastor Yan's house and later on in the official guesthouse, which is quite luxurious for the area. The insect fauna had some surprises for us. Here unexpectedly a new species of a Singing Cicada (Hemiptera, Auchenorrhyncha, Cicadidae) was found! We also found here good species of moths and beetles, but we had some bad luck with the weather conditions.


Rob de Vos

For me it was the fifth time to go to Papua (formerly Irian Jaya). Although you would think that many events during the voyage will be repeating the previous ones, every time it is different. Not only with different members of the survey but also with different experiences, different places to visit and fortunately also ... different species. I am focussed especially on the Tiger Moths (Erebidae, Arctiinae) but I am also interested in other moths, but mainly Noctuoidea. In Mokwam we had very good results with many new species for science, mainly small arctiine species but also some larger ones. My wish for a long time was to go to the Anggi Lakes high up into the Arfak Mountains. This time we finally succeeded in going there. I hoped to find an endemic species, Nyctemera warmasina (Bethune-Baker, 1910), and we did! Or actually, the credits are for Siep Sinnema who found the only two specimens for me; one at light in the evening and one at day time in the sun. The species has not been found since Ernst Mayr collected this species in 1928 in "Ninay Valley" [= Neney Valley]. These two specimens only made my trip already a success! And we found some other important species; an unexpected new species of Spilosoma, a new Monosyntaxis species in large numbers and much more worthwhile smaller lithosiini. In Senopi we found, unknowlingly at that time, a new Singing Cicada species (Hemiptera, Auchenorrhyncha, Cicadidae). But most of all I was surprised by the heartwarming contacts with UNIPA and other people who helped us. My great thanks go to Mrs. Rawati Panjaitan, Trivona (Ona) Helena Tuririday, Ika Palimbunga Pujiningrum, Pastor Yan (in Senopi) and Yoris R. Wanggai (Manokwari). Of course I also would like to thank our old friends at UNCEN, Mrs. Supeni Sufaati, Evie Warikar and Erlani for their help in the eastern part of Papua. I was surprised by the many students that were interested in my two lectures at UNIPA and UNCEN. Looking back at such a successful survey I am already looking forward to my sixth journey to Papua, but that has to wait for a few years.


Siep and Jannie Sinnema

The trip we made in November 2011 for the Papua Insect Foundation was our first visit to Papua. We were used to study moths in the tropics by making trips to West Africa, but this visit to Papua was a great new experience. The trips by car across the Arfak Mountains and to the Tamrau Plateau were really exciting, particularly crossing rivers during a banjir.
Our main goal was studying the moths and especially members of the family of the Uraniidae. Highlights were the collecting nights at Mokwam, where thousands of moth were attracted to the light. We were able to collect species of the Arctiinae and of course from the family of the Uraniidae. Another highlight for us was the collecting in Demaisi and Kobrey, where we collected Nyctemera warmasina. Only a few specimens of this moth were found near the Anggi Lakes, for the last time in 1928, and as it was not observed since then, it was one of the goals of this trip to find out if it was still there. The people in Papua were very kind and very helpful. Mostly it was difficult to make a stable position for the sheet and the lamps, but the people in the villages were always assisting us by bringing poles from the forest and helping us to raise the construction. And of course they were very curious at night, when the lights were on. There was only one problem: the generator we bought in Manokwari was not very reliable, but with the help of the drivers and people of the village we mostly were able to repair it.
Another goal of our trip was to make photo’s for the Papua Insect Foundation. The fact that we have almost 4000 photo’s on our disc, shows that the amount of insects we have met in Papua was very abundant.
We also enjoyed our friendly relations with the people of the universities UNCEN and UNIPA. The teachers were very helpful to arrange the trips in the Birdshead Peninsula and we were very happy that we could help the teachers and the students by giving demonstrations of trapping insects to light and to find and distinguish insects by day in the forest. We are sure a lot of them have become very interested and enthusiastic in entomology.
We want to thank all the people who helped organizing this trip, especially Rob de Vos. It was a fantastic trip and now it will take us a lot of time to study the collected moths and to select the photo’s we made.


Activities of the other expedition members

Gerrit Withaar is specialized in Cerambycidae (Coleoptera). To obtain the specimens he wants (especially Tmesisternus species) he has to beat the branches of shrubs and trees (see picture). According to Gerrit the time of the year was not very favourable for Cerambycidae, he had to take lot of efforts to obtain only few specimens. But all together he was satisfied with the results, also as far as other beetle families are concerned. Gerrit is a real New Guinea veteran, being there for the fourth time.

Harry Smit is specialized in water mites (Acari: Hydrachnidia), very small spider-like animals which are an important part of the aquatic ecosystem with a complex life cycle. To collect these minute creatures Harry has to put some debris from streams and ponds into a white tray and just wait for swimming mites passing the so called "MCA's" [Mites Crossing Areas]. Harry had to do lot of efforts to find only few specimens. Nevertheless he had some good results; at the last collecting day he found in a swamp at the beach of Base G (Jayapura) a Hydrobaumia species. This genus is known by one specimen only described in 1930 from Malaysia. Furthermore there was a different Limnesia species in Kali Ilik near Lake Gita (Anggi Lakes), possibly a new subgenus. In general Harry collected mostly already known genera with some new species. The Birdshead Peninsula is somewhat richer in species than the Central Mountain Range, but compared to Australia the fauna is much more poor. There are even less species than in Papua New Guinea, several genera found in PNG were not found in the western part of New Guinea.

The chairman of our Papua Insects Foundation, Piet Zumkehr, is specialized in leafroller moths (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae) but is also interested in other (small) moth families. Apart from that Piet, as an ecologist, is also very much interested in plants and the vegetation, and together with Harry Smit a bird watcher. When collecting at light Piet always carefully searched for the smaller moths on the sheet. The disadvantage of this group is that the success of these results always follow later when the moths have been examined and identified in laboratory or at the museums. However, the advantage of focusing on smaller moths is that he also found many smaller species of Arctiinae too, among which new species and "his own" Notata zumkehri De Vos & Van Mastrigt, 2007, a new locality for this species! For Piet it was the fourth time to come to Papua.

Sandra Lamberts was the photographer of the group. She had experience from her travels in Peru and Costa Rica but had never been to Indonesia before. Her interest is insect photography and she made thousands of pictures of which many will be put on internet. Soon you will see the results in this website. She enjoyed the expedition very much and was very popular with the students!



As stated before, without the help of the teachers and students of UNCEN (Waena) and UNIPA (Manokwari) our expedition was not possible. We like to thank them for the great help they gave in all possible ways. First of all our friends from the "Cenderawasih University" (UNCEN) at Waena: Evie Warikar, Supeni Sufaati and Erlani. The teachers and students in Manokwari of the "Universitas Negeri Papua" (UNIPA): Rawati Panjaitan, Trivona (Ona) Helena Tuririday and Ika Pujiningrum Palimbunga. And secondly we also like to thank our friend and guide Yoris R. Wanggai. Yoris knows everything of the Province Papua Barat and can arrange your tour through and around the Birdshead Peninsula. See for more information the advertisement of Arfak Paradigalla Tours.



For all your tour arrangements in and around Manokwari, the Arfak Mountains and Papua Barat
An English, Dutch and Bahasa Indonesia spoken experienced guide

Contact Yoris R. Wanggai
mobile phone: 081248092764 (in Indonesia)







Experienced drivers with strong four wheel drive vehicles for your remote or off road expeditions through Papua Barat (Arfak Mountains, Tamrau Plateau, Birdshead Peninsula)

Contact Mr. Sumardi (Bahasa Indonesia only or contact Yoris Wanggai, see above)
Tel. 081313181669 or 085344993837 (in Indonesia)



Volume 6(3) (January - March 2012) of SUGAPA is released


SUGAPA is a continuation of the newsletter "SUGAPA" of the Kelompok Entomologi Papua (KEP) which started in July 2006 and since then published 8 issues on the activities of the members of KEP, a group of enthousiast Papuan biology students and teachers of the Cenderawasih University (UNCEN), with Henk van Mastrigt as guide and teacher. Initially the language in the newsletter was Bahasa Indonesia, which was a problem for most interested scientist. The Papua Insects Foundation therefore presented English translated abstracts on the website.

SUGAPA is sponsored by the Van Tienhoven Foundation in The Netherlands. For more information about this foundation click on the logo at the right.

The magazine SUGAPA focusses on international scientists and deal with subjects on Papuan insects. The text will be mostly in English (about 25 % will be in Bahasa Indonesia). More information or subscription

The editors of SUGAPA appeal for entomologists to contribute in their journal, so if you have manuscripts (almost) ready on Papuan insects and want to publish in SUGAPA, please contact the editorial board of SUGAPA.

We like to emphasize that SUGAPA is a registered journal (ISSN 1978-9807) and independently founded by KEP, but it is obvious that the Papua Insects Foundation fully supports this initiative with what we can.

The grow of subscriptions to SUGAPA is less than we expected but we hope that with good advertisement and "mouth to mouth" recommendation the subscriptions will grow to the necessary minimum to cover the finances of the magazine. The most important aim of this magazine is not just making it possible to publish in it quite easy, but to develope a magazine in which most entomologists will publish their information on Papuan insects and to be available to teachers and students in Papua and further.



Issue 6(3) contains (see also the abstracts):



< Henk van Mastrigt - Review of Delias hypomelas group on New Guinea (Lepidoptera: Pieridae)

> Stefan Schröder - ”Felder’s Hedge Blue”- Lycaenopsis haraldus (Fabricius 1787) - recorded
from Papua, Indonesia (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae).






The Entomological Society of Latvia presents:






"Biodiversity, Biogeography and Nature Conservation in Wallacea and New Guinea"

The new book series "Biodiversity, Biogeography and Nature Conservation on Wallacea and New Guinea" is an attempt for starting new era in research and nature conservation in the region of Indo-Australian transition. The book will run to several volumes published on a regular basis every 2-3 years.

more information









STILL AVAILABLE ! A field guide to the butterflies of the Birdshead Peninsula
"Kupu-kupu, untuk Wilayah Kepala Burung Termasuk Pulau-pulau Provinsi Papua Barat"
by the team of Kelompok Entomologi Papua (KEP, "Workgroup Papua Insects")

For more information click here






This field guide is sponsored by The World Wildlife Fund and the Dutch "Nationale Postcode Loterij"





News on the website - Rob de Vos

As usual new thumbnail galleries have been added to the website and more are yet to come. Renovations and corrections in the website are part of a daily practice to keep the website up to date and are ongoing. Here follows a list of the major novities on the website since last newsletter. Minor changes are numerous and you will understand that we cannot list those.

Of the insects pages, in fact the most important part of the website, the following list shows the new or renewed checklists

The "Arctiidae" (now Erebidae, Arctiinae) pages are being renewed, low quality pictures will be replaced and new and updated distribution maps and information will be presented. The recently revised Erebidae will be put in the website in parts, the same will be done for the Pyralidae and Crambidae.

We hope that contributors who promissed us a checklist of their insect group will soon send it to us for preparing. If you have additional information or a new family to add to the website please contact the webmaster.

Have a look at the following interesting new History pages:


Available thumbnails at this moment are:


Appeal for more information on other insect groups and items for the next newsletter

At the moment we have contact with more than 50 entomologists in the world who more or less contribute to our website or promissed to do so. We would appreciate your cooperation to provide us of information and checklists of your specialism concerning New Guinea in general or Papua Indonesia in particular. If you know of some other specialists who potentially could be interested to contribute to our website, please let him/her know of us or inform us.

If you have interesting news or information to put in the next newsletter you are very welcome to. Please contact the webmaster to deliver and discuss your contribution.

We rely and depend on you!