Sunday, March 9, 2008

A chance encounter with Selene - the goddess of the moon

I was at Fraser's Hill with a few friends last week. I have been there many times but everytime I go there I see something new. The highlight of this trip was the sighting of the extremely rare lunar moth Actias selene (picture below)the morning before we return to Singapore !

The moths at Fraser's Hill are out of this world ! They are colourful, come in all shapes and sizes and some looks like creatures from science fiction. I will write more about my adventure at Fraser's Hill another day. Let me give an update on the 2 caterpillars : #C8 and #C9.

#C8 has grown quite a bit, it is now about 10mm long (picture below).

#C9 unfortunately did not make it ;-( It ate some leaf and died after 3 days.

On a brighter note, this is the season for caterpillars. Over the last two weeks I have seen quite a number of caterpillars at our urban parks. These are a few 0f the more interesting ones :

1. Bibasis harisa (Orange Awlet)

2. Euthalia aconthea (The Baron) and Polyura hebe (Plain Nawab)
Both caterpillars were in the last instar and were about to transform to pupae.

3. Amathusia phidippus (Palm King)
This is a gem of a find ! It (#C17) it big (75mm) and hairy and does not look like a typical butterfly caterpillar at all. Simon and I have been looking for this caterpillar for a long time and we finally found it on an unlikely host plant - the Fish Tail Palm (Caryota mitis) ! The principle larva host plant for this butterfly is the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera). While other palms such as oil and nipah palm have been reported as alternate host plants, Fish Tail Palm could be a new record !

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