Moths, the winged creatures of the night, are often associated with death.
A death's-head hawkmoth, for example, features prominently on the poster of the horror film The Silence Of The Lambs. Some people believe that moths are the spirits of recently departed relatives.
A group of naturalists from Singapore hopes to change the moth's inauspicious reputation - through a book which highlights the diversity of moths, and their role in keeping ecosystems alive and thriving.
"Moths have long been overshadowed by butterflies, but not many people know that for every species of butterfly, there are nine species of moths - they are incredibly diverse," said Dr Leong Tzi Ming, a freelance nature guide and one of the five authors of the book.
Moths and butterflies are related and can be hard to tell apart. But butterflies tend to fold their wings over their backs, while moths usually spread them out when at rest.
Most butterflies, being active in the day, help to pollinate plants by day as they flit from flower to flower in search of nectar, but moths take on the "night shift" gardener role, which is important as some flowers in the forest bloom only at night, said Dr Leong.
Even at other life stages, moths are important too. For example, as a caterpillar, the aptly named carpenter moth burrows into the dead wood that it feeds on, helping to break down logs so nutrients get recycled in the forest ecosystem.
But beyond highlighting the important ecological role of moths, the book - which will be launched this evening at the Singapore Botanic Gardens - also wants to showcase their beauty.
Moths are not all dark and dull, but come in a variety of shapes, colours and sizes. For example, the hieroglyphic moth has colourful, intricate patterns on its wings that look as though they were painted by hand.
PUTTING MOTHS IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Moths have long been overshadowed by butterflies, but not many people know that for every species of butterfly, there are nine species of moths - they are incredibly diverse.
DR LEONG TZI MING, a freelance nature guide and one of the five authors of the new book.
Called Marvellous Moths Of Fraser's Hill, the 258-page book was privately published by its authors. It showcases more than 600 species of moths found in Fraser's Hill and other highland spots in Peninsular Malaysia. It is the fruit of more than a decade of moth- watching in Fraser's Hill.
Some of the moths featured can also be found in Singapore, including the atlas moth, one of the largest moth species in the world.
• The book is priced at $40.66 (after GST). To buy, e-mail Mrs Bee Choo Strange at firstname.lastname@example.org