Netizens in Malaysia and Singapore are flooding social media sites with accounts of their encounters with swarms of giant moths, which have descended on homes and commercial buildings in urban centers in the two Southeast Asian nations in the past few weeks.
The “invasion” even disrupted a semi-finals football match at the Darul Makmur Stadium Kuantan, Pahang, Malaysia last week, BBC News reported.
Authorities, however, sought to assure the public that the phenomenon does not pose any health risks to humans.
“The moths are harmless and the public has nothing to be afraid of,” Lena Chan, director of the National Biodiversity Center at the National Parks Board in Singapore, was quoted as saying.
“There is no need for people to protect themselves against these moths as they do not cause any allergies or diseases. In fact, they are important pollinators and are beautiful to watch.”
Those suffering from asthma may be sensitive to the hairs on the moths’ wings, experts said.
The Lyssa Zampa tropical moth, also known as Laos brown butterfly, is native to Southeast Asia, the report said.
Biology lecturer N Sivasothi said the moth sightings, although unprecedented, are nothing new.
“The moths are actually present during other times of the year but in very small numbers, so they are usually not noticed by people,” Mr Sivasothi said, adding that the creatures usually emerge between April and August every year.
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