20th December 2022

Stephen Laurence Sutton

MA, D.Phil. (Oxford), Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society (UK) (F.R.E.S.), Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (UK) (F.R.G.S.)

Welcome to my website. This platform aims to introduce you to my current activities, background, and publications. Here, you will find information about my work on the conservation of the Kinabalu Birdwing butterfly, my extensive research on Pyraloid Moths of Borneo, and my various other contributions to the field of entomology.

News: The Heart of Borneo Symposium December 2022, Kota Kinabalu

 50th Anniversary Dinner of WWF Malaysia

Kinabalu Birdwing Project team at the Heart Of Borneo Symposium 2nd December 2022 at Sabah International Conference Centre. Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia. 

L to R. Co-chair of KBB Dr Stephen Sutton, Dr Arthur Chung, Deputy Director (Research) of the Forest Research Centre of the Sabah Forestry Department (Sabah’s senior government entomologist. Associate member of KBB project). Paul Foronda & Suzanne Goh, Field Organizer.

Here is an introductory video followed by a dance video made in 2019 to raise awareness about this endangered butterfly for the school kids living on the slopes of Mt Kinabalu. The Birdwing Courtship Dance video at the Sabah Kids Bird & Butterfly Festival (April 2019) at Kampung Kiau, Mount Kinabalu.

Ongoing: The Kinabalu Birdwing Butterfly Project (KBB)

The Troides andromache, commonly known as the Kinabalu Birdwing, is a giant butterfly that is both rare and endangered. The female of the species boasts an impressive wingspan of 185 mm, approximately the size of a small dinner plate. This magnificent creature is endemic to Borneo and finds its stronghold on Mt. Kinabalu, which stands at 4,095 meters in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. It is a symbol of pride for Sabah, as there are no confirmed colonies of this species elsewhere on the island.

Interestingly, there seems to be a closely related species with two known colonies in Sarawak and one in Kalimantan. To better understand the evolutionary relationships within this species complex, we have a PhD student from Wageningen University in the Netherlands conducting research.

In Sabah, my dedicated team and I are actively engaged in assessing the risk of extinction faced by the Kinabalu Birdwing and are taking measures to bolster its population. Since 2018, our conservation efforts have been generously supported by the Rotary Club of Kota Kinabalu, the Ministry of Tourism Sabah, and the Hyatt Regency Hotel Kota Kinabalu.

Female Kinabalu (or Borneo) Birdwing – Troides andromache) Mountain Valley Resort, Kiau Gap, Sabah. Photo: Arthur Chung

Internationally classified as rare and endangered in 1987, we are now re-assessing its status following a request from the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) via the Swallowtail and Birdwing Butterfly Trust of London. The Kinabalu Birdwing is one of four species of Birdwings in Sabah and the only one confined to the mountains.

We are also collaborating with Homestay operators in Kg Kiau, located at the foothills of Mt. Kinabalu, to cultivate the host plants essential for the caterpillars of the majestic Kinabalu Birdwing butterfly. This initiative aims to attract paying visitors who are eager to photograph these free-flying giants in their natural habitat, thereby creating a new and sustainable source of income for the community.

Ongoing: Pyraloid Moths of Borneo

Featured is an image of a Musotiminae species (Crambidae), specifically Musotima new species #13, discovered in the Tamparuli area of Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. We extend our gratitude to Ron Eldie for this contribution.

Pyraloid Moths of Borneo

Since 2009, Stephen, along with three other researchers—Dato’ Henry Barlow, Lim Kooi Fong, and Dr. Terry Whitaker—has been dedicated to compiling a comprehensive guide to the Pyraloid Moths of Borneo. Volume 1 and Volume 2 are already published. In 2023, we anticipate the valuable contribution of Dr. Richard Mally as the lead author for Volume 3.

This ambitious project encompasses the publication of three printed volumes aimed at the identification of species within the Superfamily Pyraloidea, of which approximately 2,000 species are known in Borneo to date. Additionally, a website that complements the printed volumes will be available.

As someone deeply passionate about insect biodiversity, I frequently deliver lectures on this subject and canopy research to a diverse audience that includes academics, civil society groups, and tour participants in Sabah. Additionally, I contribute articles and reviews to further knowledge in my field of expertise.

From 1999 to 2014, I was a partner in the brick-and-mortar and online bookstore Borneo Books. For an insightful account of this business endeavor, readers are invited to peruse my essay “Decline & Fall of a Small Bookshop” located in the ‘Stories’ section. It is important to note that the website borneobooks.com has since been decommissioned.