Nicaragua is a country of some 57,145 square miles (147,882 square kilometres) and is the second largest country in Central America after Mexico. Sandwiched between Honduras and Costa Rica (see map).Nicaragua encompasses a very wide range of habitats ranging from Pacific dry forest in the west to extremely wet lowland tropical rain forest in the east.

Although the species diversity in the few groups of insects studied to date is extraordinarily high, sadly - due to Nicaragua's recent troubled political history - Nicaragua's moth fauna (and insect fauna generally) is remarkably poorly known.

With the restoration of peace and democracy in Nicaragua entomological work has started in earnest in Nicaragua. In large part this work has either been done, or inspired by, the remarkable Dr. Jean-Michel Maes whose private entomological museum at Leon in Nicaragua (see ) has acted as a focus for Nicaraguan insect studies. Working almost entirely on his own, and enlisting the aid of various overseas specialists where necessary, Jean-Michel has made great progress in cataloguing the entomological diversity of his adopted country.

The present very modest catalogue of moth species from Nicaragua is largely based on a small collection made by M.J.C. Barnes - with the tremendous help of Jean-Michel Maes - during three weeks in Nicaragua in December 2001. Only two localities - Bartola in the tropical rain forest of the eastern Rio San Juan and Domitila in the Pacific dry forest - were collected at personally. Other specimens - or images of specimens - from other localities and other times were kindly contributed by Jean-Michel and by the French lepidopterist Pierre Schmit. Much help with identifications has been given by the French entomologist Michele Laguerre, whose collecting in Nicaragua has been much more extensive than the catalogue listed here.

Although very preliminary it is hoped that this modest catalogue will stimulate further interest in biodiversity inventory studies in this fascinating and highly diverse country.