By Heather Chen
Swarms of giant moths have descended on Malaysia, invading homes and even disrupting a national football match.
Thousands of the furry insects, with a wing span of up to 16cm (6in), interrupted a semi-finals match at the Darul Makmur Stadium last week.
Over 800 sightings were also reported in neighbouring Singapore last month, sparking intense online debate.
The Lyssa Zampa tropical moth, which is also known as the Laos brown butterfly, is native to South East Asia.
Biology lecturer N Sivasothi said that while the moth sightings appear to be “unprecedented”, it is not a new phenomenon.
“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 typically emerge between April and August every year.
Ecologist Anuj Jain said moths’ use of light for navigation often causes them to head to built-up areas.
“Their tendency to emigrate in search of new uneaten host plants attracts these moths to light in urban city areas,” he said.
Experts said that while people suffering from asthma may be sensitive to hairs on their wings, the nocturnal creatures do not pose any threat.