The insects of Papua Indonesia

Taxonomic and faunistic overviews on the insect species living in Papua and West-Papua (Indonesian New Guinea)

newsletter (November 2015) thumbnail galleries SUGAPA abstracts (update June 2015)

The Papua Insects Foundation

about us:

Bruder Henk van Mastrigt (1946 - 2015 †)

A great man for Lepidoptera science passed away: Bruder Henk van Mastrigt, who lived and worked in Jayapura, Papua, Indonesia, as Franciscan Katholic Brother and who was a dedicated Lepidoptera collector and amateur scientist on Delias butterflies (Pieridae).

We all will miss him so much! His kindness, help, expertise and local knowledge will be missed by many of us, but above all his presence when we visit Papua which was always something to look forward to.

Henk, rest in peace, we will always remember you!!

Henricus Jacobus Gerardus van Mastrigt (born 15th January 1946, Heerlen, The Netherlands) came to Irian Jaya in 1974 as a missionary-economist for the Franciscan Katholic Church. From the beginning he started to collect butterflies but from 1985 it became serious and his collection grew to one of the most important in the world concerning Papuan Lepidoptera. Henk participated in the famous Foja Expedition of 2005 which was one of his greatest experiences ever. He was astonished by the wild animals which could be approached so closely without being scared, they had never seen humans before and showed no fear. In this expedition he discovered 4 new Delias species for science in just 10 days, but in his life time in Papua he discovered and collected so many other species which were important or new to science, butterflies and moths. Henk's work will always live on in his publications, his teaching to Papua students and in the mind of many lepidopterists all over the world he had as guests with all his hospitality.








New! A field guide to the dragonflies (Odonata, Anisoptera) of New Guinea


Albert Orr & Vincent Kalkman, 2015. Field guide to the dragonflies of New Guinea. Brachytron 17, Supplement. pages 3-155. 42 plates, 17 colour pictures of natural specimens.

The Field Guide can be ordered by transferring € 20.50 (outside Netherlands) to the bank account listed below. Clearly state your address and 'Field guide New Guinea dragonflies 2015'.

NAME: W.J.A. Hoeffnagel
IBAN/SEPA Number: NL56INGB0003161406
Bank name: ING BANK N.V



The Papua Insects Foundation is sponsored and supported by:

The ideals of the Papua Insects Foundation are supported by Conservation International

The entomological magazine SUGAPA is sponsored by The Van Tienhoven Foundation

Have a look at this interesting website with lots of magnificent pictures. The Association des Lépidoptéristes de France (ALF) recently payed a visit to the Arfak Mountains, the Baliem Valley and Biak. Members of the ALF made a lot of nice pictures of insects of which we have permission to show them also in our website.

The World Wildlife Fund and the Dutch "Nationale Postcode Loterij" sponsored the new field guide to the butterflies of the Birdshead Peninsula

Vermandel entomology supplies ( sponsored the fieldwork of the Papua Insects Foundation

John H. Otten, coordinator POCT (part of the Dutch Society for Bio-Medical Laboratorium personel NVML Utrecht) donated eight stereo binoculars to us for the Papua biology students

The magazine SUGAPA 2013-2014 and the third fieldguide on butterflies (of the islands in the Cenderawasih Bay) are sponsored by Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI)



For all your tour arrangements in and around Manokwari, the Arfak Mountains and Papua Barat
An English, Dutch and Bahasa Indonesia spoken experienced guide

Contact Yoris R. Wanggai
mobile phone: 081248092764 (in Indonesia)




Introduction about this website

The need for information about fauna and flora has increased since people are aware that nature is changing very rapidly in the last decades. Polution, global warming and destruction of natural environment are the topics of the world these days.

Scientists research the causes and effects of changes in climate and biodiversity. One of the essential tools for this kind of research is information about the occurrance (faunistics) of plant and animal species in certain areas. For this it is extremely important to have accurate information, checklists of correctly identificated species and when available ecological information. Especially on tropical insects this kind of information is hard to find or it takes loads of time and effort to gather the literature provided. For some it may even be impossible to consult the necessary literature or to visit relevant museum collections. In many cases it may even be necessary to undertake new expeditions to poorly visited or even unexplored areas.

collecting at light in Borme, Star Mountains (Papua, Indonesia) (Photo: Henk van Mastrigt)


As part of the Papua Insects Foundation, the aim of this website is to provide organisations, scientist, students, museums and everyone interested, with actual information on the taxonomics and faunistics of the insect fauna of Papua. This includes checklists with the latest nomenclatorial views, pictures of the species, distribution maps (compiled from information as far as known from literature and collections) and a list with relevant literature. If available we will also give information and photographs of the types.

Very important is to distinguish so called biodiversity hotspots, places or areas where the entomological fauna is of a very high richness and is therefore of great importance to nature conservation. In order to actually recognize these hotspots it is necessary to inventorise the insect fauna and have knowledge about the existance and identity of the species. The Papua Insect Foundation can be of help in this matter.

However, information of some insects orders or families may not always be complete, due to uncertainties or simply because no (recent) work on these taxa is done yet. On the other hand, the taxa which are represented in detail on this website are recently thoroughly revised or studied and the information given is scientifically certified or at least expected to be so. The contributors to this website themselves are scientists or are in contact with specialists all over the world.



On survey in primary forest near Warkapi (Arfak Mountains)

(Photo: Siep Sinnema, 2011)




Why Papua only?

New Guinea is the second largest island in the world (Greenland is the largest). It is also one of the richest islands for what biodiversity is concerned. Its tropical climate and fortunately still largely (70%) with forest covered surface gives animals and plants the opportunity to flourish in an almost unlimited way. Its biogeographic history is very complex and resulted in strange habitats from an even stranger origin. Its floral and faunal character is much different of that of adjacent areas in the region. For instance, in the west the Moluccas may have an overlap of species with New Guinea, but for the greater part it differs significantly and forms the border between the Sundanian and Wallacian regions on one side and the Australian faunal regions on the other side. In the south and southeast the faunal characters are similar in Queensland (Australia), the Solomon Islands and Fiji, but New Guinea inhabits loads of endemic fauna elements. There have been many natural historic expeditions in New Guinea but most of them where in the eastern part, at present Papua New Guinea. The majority of faunistic information from New Guinea consequently deals with this area. Because of the fact that the western part, Papua (Indonesia), is underexplored and because the geological history of this area for a greater part differs from the eastern area, which also resulted in different flora and thus fauna, it is about time that this interesting part of New Guinea is mapped. Of course, there is already information about the western part of New Guinea available, but it is scattered in literature and hidden in (museum) collections. It is one of our jobs to collect these data and to make this information available to the public.


In the 19th and early 20th century the island of New Guinea was colonized by three nations: the Dutch in the west (Dutch New Guinea), the Germans in the northeast (Kaiser Wilhelms Land) and the British in the southeast (British New Guinea). At 1848 the border of Dutch New Guinea is layed down at 141º Eastern Length by the government of the Dutch Indies. It was officially determined in 1895 and is until present day the unchanged border of Papua with Papua New Guinea. In 1963 the area was handed over to UNTEA and finally to the Republic of Indonesia and was called Irian Barat (West Irian), from 1973 Irian Jaya (= "Ikut Republik Indonesia, Anti Nederland", which means "Follow the Republik Indonesia, reject The Netherlands", "Jaya" means "glorious") and from October 2001 Papua (or Papua Indonesia, to avoid confusion). In 2003 there was an attemption to divide Papua in three subprovinces (Papua Barat, Papua Tengah and Papua Timur) but because of many protests it was decided to divide Papua in 2007 in only two main provinces: Papua Barat (West Papua) and Papua. In this website we only use the name Papua or Papua Indonesia, meaning both provinces together. The border of both provinces is West of Nabire and East of Wandammen Peninsula.

Because in the 19th and early 20th century most naturalists were either German or British it is obvious that the colonies in the east of New Guinea were visited more frequently by scientists than the Dutch western part of the island. Furthermore Dutch scientists hardly showed any interest in this part of their colony. After Dutch New Guinea was handed over to UNTEA and Indonesia in 1963, hardly any expedition or collection trip was held in this part until the Eighties of the last century. Nevertheless, their have been some important expeditions in the western part. An overview of these expeditions is given on the history page of this website.

Published information about insects of New Guinea is mostly restricted to the eastern side of this large island, Papua New Guinea (PNG). A magnifiscent piece of work is done by Michael Parsons in "The Butterflies of Papua New Guinea" (1999) about the butterflies of New Guinea, with PNG in particular. For moths such a comprehensive work does not exist, let alone about other insect orders, although there are many publications scattered in various scientific magazines. One of the aims of The Papua Insect Foundation is to gather all this information and to make it available, for instance on this website.

No comprehensive overview on the insect fauna of Papua exist yet. But just recently, Henk van Mastrigt (2005) published a guide of the butterflies of the northeastern part of Papua Indonesia: Kupu-kupu ("butterflies") and another in 2010 on the butterflies of Papua Barat, the Birdshead Peninsula. It may be the start of a series on this more or less "forgotten" part of New Guinea.


Additional information

If you are interested in more detailed information than presented here, please do not hesitate to contact us.
If you have additional information about some taxa, please let us know or join us and contribute to this website. A list of participating specialists is given in contributors.

You will find a list of the collections and museums from which information and photographs are obtained and used for this website with their permission.


Last update on 5th January 2016