Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore are part of the Sundaland biodiversity hotspot with one of the highest numbers of species in the world. Butterflies (Lepidoptera) are arguably the most well-studied megadiverse terrestrial invertebrates in this region with a long taxonomic history in various localities and ecoregions. Yet, with an estimated butterfly diversity of 1,200 species in the region, there is a clear under-representation within GBIF.org having only specimen records of less than a third of this number.
The Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) joined the international Butterflies of the Southeast Asian Islands Project recently and aims to mobilize specimen data through the digitization of ~10,000 butterfly specimens, with priorities to achieve high coverage of all representative families/subfamilies available.
Publication of these specimen data will directly increase the species representation for the targeted region to ~90% with georeferenced data belonging to a critical time period of drastic landscape modifications (1960-1990). Availability of this data will bridge the gap between historical data and contemporary knowledge of butterfly species in the region, and at the same time promote further scientific investigations into this remarkable regional butterfly diversity.