Sunday, May 31, 2009

Butterflies from Singapore

Below are a few butterflies I shot today around the Central Catchments area.

1. Sumatran sunbeam (Curetis santana) taking off.Curetis santana malayica-20090531 11-10-52 - 0044

2. Common Snowflat (Tagiades japetus), one of the most common Snowflat in Singapore.

3. Tawny Palmfly (Elymnias panthera), the rarer of the 2 Palmfly in Singapore. 
Elymnias hypermnestra agina-20090531 11-10-52 - 0099

4. Flos anniella, uncommon.
Flos anniella anniella-20090531 13-28-37 - 0086-400

5. Flos apidanus, uncommon.
Flos apidaqnus saturata-20090531 13-05-40 - 0067

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Caterpillar feeding on Desert Rose plant

During a recent GCS gathering, a GCS member told me she had a big green caterpillar eating her Desert Rose (Adenium obesium) plant, a plant belonging to the Dogbane Family ( Apocynaceae )


She sent me a photo and it turned out the caterpillar is another hawk moth caterpillar, the Oleander Hawk-moth - Daphnis nerii.

In Singapore, Oleander Hawk-moth caterpillar is usually found feeding on Madagascar Periwinkle (Catharanthus) , PinWheel Jasmine (Tabernaemontana sp) and Oleander (Nerium oleander), all  belonging to the Apocynaceae family. 

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A 3-4” long green caterpillar

Last week, a GCS member sent me a SMS asking if I am interested in a 3~4” long green caterpillar.  Caterpillar of this size in a garden is most likely that of Hawk moth or Atlas moth.  On probing I found out that it has a tail and was feeding on a plant belonging to Araceae family.  This confirmed it is a Hawk moth caterpillar and most likely that of Eupanacra elegantulus.
The member was kind enough to bring the caterpillar and a cutting of the host plant to me on that evening and the caterpillar was confirmed to be that of Eupanacra elegantulus.

Eupanacra elegantulus-20090521_1787-640

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Butterfly Walks

Simon and I conducted 2 butterfly walks for NSS members this weekend.

Yesterday we had our inaugural walk at the Changi Airport Terminal 3 Butterfly Garden.  The butterfly garden is inside the transit area thus is accessible only to transit passengers but NSS managed to secure special visitor pass for 60 NSS members to visit the T3 butterfly garden. 3 cheers to NSS-BIG !


and this morning we had a big turnout for the butterfly walk at Alexandra Hospital Butterfly Trail.


Pictures from the walks will be posted on BIG’s Blog later this week.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Pandita sinope sinope – The Colonel

Name   : Pandita sinope sinope Moore 1858
Family  : Nymphalidae
Subfamily : Numphalinae
Tribe : Limentidini
Larva host plant : Rubiaceae

Pandita sinope-MYBunker-200705-DSC_0084-480

Pandita sinope-MYBunker-200705-DSC_0076-480

Life History Record
- 2007 MayUncaria sp (Rubiaceae)

Date         : 1 May 2007
Location   : Bunker Trail, Johor, Malaysia
Host Plant : Uncaria sp (Rubiaceae)


Pandita sinope-MYBunker-200705-DSC-0002-480


1st instar
Pandita sinope-MYBunker-200705-DSC-0009-480

3rd instar
Pandita sinope-MYBunker-200705-DSC-0014-480

5th instar
Pandita sinope-MYBunker-200705-DSC-0017-480

Pandita sinope-MYBunker-200705-DSC-0023-480 Pandita sinope-MYBunker-200705-DSC-0025-480

Pupa :

Pandita sinope-MYBunker-200705-DSC-0036-0033-480

The night before eclosion
Pandita sinope-MYBunker-200705-DSC_0056-480

Friday, May 15, 2009

Macroglossum sitiene Walker, 1856

Name       : Macroglossum sitiene Walker, 1856
Family      : SPHINGIDAE Latreille, 1802
Subfamily : MACROGLOSSINAE Harris, 1839 
Tribe        : Macroglossini Harris, 1839
Genus       : Macroglossum Scopoli, 1777
Larva host plant : Paederia foetida (Rubiaceae)

 Macroglossum sitiene-200111-Dscn8738-e

Reference : Sphingidae of the Eastern Palaearctic

Life History Record :
- Nov 2001Paederia foetida (Rubiaceae)

Date         : 9 Nov 2001
Location   : Clementi Woods Park, Singapore
Host Plant : Paederia foetida (Rubiaceae)

Ovum :
Laid single at the underside of leaf
Macroglossum sitiene-200111-DSCN7099-480Macroglossum sitiene-200111-DSCN7095-480

Larva :
2nd instar larva
Macroglossum sitiene-200111-DSCN7375-480
Final instar larva – green form
Macroglossum sitiene-200111-DSCN7768-480 
Just before it pupate, the larva changes to pink colorMacroglossum sitiene-200111-DSCN7856-480
Pupa :
Macroglossum sitiene-200111-DSCN7989-480

Adult :
Macroglossum sitiene-200111-DSCN8739

Macroglossum sitiene-200111-DSCN8740


Thursday, May 14, 2009

April Butterfly trip to Fraser’s Hill – Part 2

Continue from Part 1

We saw lots of colorful and interesting but only one new species of Hawk moth - Cypa decolor decolor.

Cypa decolor decolor
Cypa decolor decolor-MYFH_20090424_0970-640

Antheraea helferi borneensis (m)Antheraea helferi borneensis (m)-MYFH_20090425_0654-480

A very tattered Lamaireia loepoidesLamaireia loepoides-MYFH_20090425_0647-480

Two Ambulyx moorei
Ambulyx moorei-MYFH_20090423_0052-480

Eudocima homaena (f)
Eudocima homaena (f)-MYFH_20090424_0991-480

Plutodes malaysiana
Enn-Plutodes malaysiana-MYFH_20090423_0010-480 

Fascellina clausariaFascellina clausaria-MYFH_20090424_1001-480
and a few others I have not had time to id ..MYFH_20090422_0431-480 
MYFH_20090424_1066-480  MYFH_20090425_0740-480

Assassin Bug with its preyMYFH_20090423_0002-480



Pink-necked Green Pigeon at Ayer Keroh
Pink-necked Green Pigeon-MYFH_20090421_0509-480

Mountain Imperial Pigeon at High PinesMountain Imperial Pigeon-MYFH_20090424_0899-600

Cave Racer snake along the new road
Cave Racer-MYFHNewRoad_20090425_0778-600

The END.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

April Butterfly trip to Fraser’s Hill – Part 1

Papilio memnon agenor-MYFHRaub_20090423_1168-400 A male Papilio memnon feeding on the nectar of Clerodendrum paniculatum.

This is my BEST ever butterfly trip and a very very tough one to beat. It is not that my previous trips were no good. In fact all of my butterfly trips to Malaysia and in particular Fraser’s Hill have been fantastic, I usually get at least a lifer and see many rare butterflies. In May 2007 I had the Green Dragon Tail, Dec 2007 - the Kepala Puteh, April 2008 – Purple Sapphire and Branded Yamfly, May 2008 – Banded Peacock and The brimstone, Dec 2008 - The Red Caliph, Feb 2009 – The Great Blue Mime, and 4-Bar Swordtail , Mar 2009 – The Black Forrester and Mar 2009 at Gopeng – Rajah Brooke’s Birdwing puddling en masse, Doleschallia bisaltide continentalis and Catapaecilma major.

That is an impressive list but what separates the April 2009 trip from the rest is the number of rare butterflies we saw and photographed. I made a list of what we saw and we had close to 130 species and more than 20 rare butterflies ! I am sure if Simon were there, the list would easily hit 150.

Cyrestis maenalis and nivea-MYFHNewRoad_20090424_0958-640The highland Cyrestis maenalis and lowland Cyrestis nivea side by side

In fact just before the April trip, Simon and I were browsing The Butterflies of Malay Peninsular (BMP) and chatting about what we would like to see in future butterfly trips. I said I would like to see Garphium empedovana, Meandrusa payeni, Symbrenthia hypatia and Ixas sp. These are some of the rarest butterflies in Malaysia and I will be happy if I see just one in a trip. And guess what ? I saw three out of the four in April and just missed Meandrusa payeni by a few hours.

Neocheritra amrita amrita-MYFHRaub_20090423_0124-400A mating pair of Grand imperial - Neocheritra amrita amrita

No amount of words or pictures can convey my excitement and joy of seeing these magnificent butterflies in situ but I hope the pictures below will at least excite those who read my blog and show the varieties of butterflies that Fraser’s Hill and the surrounding areas have to offer.

So here it goes …

Graphium empedovana – Malayan Yellowbottle
Graphium empedovana-MYFHRaub_20090423_1091-400This is the biggest and rarest of all the Graphiums in Malaysia. It is about 1.4 times the average size of the other Graphiums and is very swift in flight. We saw this gem at a stream in Raub. It never stay at the same spot for more than 2 seconds and I was lucky to managed 2 shots with my 400mm before it took off.
This is my butterfly of the trip ! A 5-STAR !

Meandrusa payeni - The Yellow gorgonMaendrusa payeni-Maris Midgley-IMG_2759-400
Our friend Maris and Mel came back one day asking what is this butterfly with sickle-shaped wings and long tail. All of us got excited and rushed to the spot where Maris photographed this butterfly but it was no where to be found :-( We went back again the next day and waited for 4 hours but it didn’t turn up. At least I know where to find it and this gives me another reason to go back to FH :-D

The last time I saw The Yellow Gorgon was 13 years ago at Templer Park, Selangor. Meandrusa_payeni-MYTemploer-19960911-DC0004LThe picture above was taken 13 years ago with the then ‘top of the line’ Kodak DC40 digital camera which captures picture at 756x 504 pixels (less than 1 Megapixel). No bad for 13 year old technology with less than 1MP sensor !

Symbrenthia hypatia chersonesia
– The Intricate Jester
Symbrenthia hypatia chersonesia-MYFHNewRoad_20090425_0817-400This is a lifer for me. Maris photographed this together with the Yellow Gorgon. I was very lucky because when we went back to look for the Yellow Gorgon, this individual landed right in front of me 5 mins before our scheduled departure ! According to BMP none of the Malaysian species of Symbrenthia can be described as common. Yahoo !!

Papilio palinurus palinurus – The Banded Peacock
A spectacular butterfly with luminous green dusted wings.

Papilio palinurus palinurus-MYFHKKB_20090425_0831-400

Papilio palinurus palinurus-MYFHKKB_20090425_0841-400

This is only the 3rd time I have seen this butterfly in the wild. The first time was at Ulu Yam in 1996 but my Kodak DC40 was too slow to photograph it. 12 years later with the signifcantly more advanced D90, I managed to capture a record shot before it took off. On this trip, we had 3 pristine individuals puddling on the ground. Using a 400mm lens, I managed to nail a few shots which captured the the essence of this beautiful butterfly.

Larva of Idea hypermnestra linteata
– Malay Tree Nymph

Idea hypermnestra linteata-MYFHRaub_20090423_0160-400

After seeing this Tree Nymp countless times at Fraser’s Hill, I finally found its larva and host plant. Yipee !!
Find out more about the Malay Tree Nymph here.

Neorina lowii neophyta - Malayan Owl
This butterfly can usually be seen at waterfalls near bamboo clumps. Their favorite pose is wings open flat resting on a leaf.
Neorina lowii neophyta-MYFH_20090330_0281-400
so I was surprised to find this individual puddling on the ground. This is a rare shot showing the underside of this butterfly.
Neorina lowii neophyta-MYFHRaub_20090423_1136-400

Loxura cassiopeia cassiopeia - Larger Yamfly
Loxura cassiopeia cassiopeia-MYFHRaub_20090423_1081-400L. cassiopeia is a forest butterfly usually found at higher elevation.
It can be mistaken for the more common L. atymnus. However, it it is larger, with upperside redder and forewing black border continued along the costa. This is another lifer for me !

Hasora schoenherr chuza - Yellow Banded AwlHasora schoenherr chuza-MYFHJeriauWaterfall_20090424_0928-400 Hasora is not uncommon at Fraser’s Hill and I have recorded 6 species there. Hasora schoenherr is common but localised. One of the place to look for this skipper is at Jeriau waterfall.

Delias ninus ninus - Malayan Jezebel Delias ninus ninus-MYFH_20090424_0886-400 This is one of the most common Pieridae at Fraser’s Hill.

Papilio helenus helenus - Red Helen

This is the most common Papilio around the foot hill of Fraser’s Hill.Papilio helenus helenus-MYFHKKB_20090422_0384-640

Papilio memnon and P. helenus playing musical chairMYFHRaub_20090423_1112-400

Prioneris philonome themana - The Redspot Sawtooth

Prioneris philonome
is not uncommon and can usually be found singly at water seepage along with other Pierids.
Prioneris philonome themana-MYFHAdv_20090421_0515-640

Appias pandione lagela - Banded Puffin
This is a montane butterfly which is not found below 1000 feet and is not uncommon at Fraser’s Hill.
Appias pandione lagela-MYFHNewRoad_20090425_0799-640

Part 2 will cover moths and other insects