Friday, December 7, 2018

Butterflies of Northern Thailand Part 2 (Lycaenids)

Continued from last post

This time, there were not many Lycaenids in terms of  number of species and quantities. As usual, most of the puddling shots were taken at Chiangdao.

Let me begin with a small lycaenid that blended very well with the soil - this is the Barred Lineblue (Prosotas aluta coelestis) which was puddling on the behind the worker's quarter.
This looks like the Bhutea Lineblue (Prosotas bhutea) which seemed to be less common as I didn't get to spot it on other days when we were at Chiangdao. 
Most of the time,the White Four Lineblue (Nacaduba angusta albida) was found puddling. This species reminded me of the late uncle Sunny - he spotted and shot the subspecies kerriana some years ago at Telok Blangah Hill Park.
This looks like the Rounded Sixline Blue (Nacaduba berenice) climbing over a rock.
The Dingy Lineblue (Petrelaea dana dana) does not seem to be common too - I only spotted it once.
Look at the following few Hedge Blue shots, you will know that it is very challenging to identify them accurately. This is The Plain Hedge Blue (Celastrina lavendularis).
The Hedge Cupid (Bothrinia chennelli celastroides)
It looks like The Swinhoe's Hedge Blue (Monodontides musina musinoides).
The Common Hedge Blue (Acytolepis puspa ).
I constantly looked out for different shots. When this Common Peirrot (Castalius rosimon rosimon) was feeding on flowers, I could not wait to take a few shots.
The uppersides of another Common Peirrot when it was sunbathing on a late afternoon.
The Forest Quaker (Pithecops corvus corvus) was quite small but it could be very alert and active.
The Indian Cupid (Everes lacturnus) was having a short break on a leaf.
This is an Elbowed Pierrot (Caleta elna noliteia ) - a very common species on the Chiangdao puddling ground.
A close cousin to C. elna, the Straight Peirrot (Caleta roxus Roxana) was abundant too.
This is the Banded Peirrot (Discolampa ethion ethion). We could easily mistake it for the Straight Peirrot due to their close resemblance with each other.
The Blue Leaf Blue (Amblypodia narada taooana) was found amongst some glasses at Doi Ithanon.
This Long-banded Silver Line (Cigaritis lohita himalayanus) was puddling on the ground under the hot sun.
When this Orchid Tit (Hypolycaena othona othona) changed its perch a few times before I could snap a few quick shots.  
The Common Yamfly (Loxura atymnus) presented a nice and elegant perch on a blade of grass.
Long-tailed lycaenids are simply amazing to many butterfly photographers and they cannot be found in some places such as Hong Kong. We spotted a few of them.

We saw the Common Imperial (Cheritra freja) on two days at Chiangdao.
 At the same location as the Common Imperial, the Blue Imperial (Ticherra acte acte) attracted more attention amongst us.
The Fluffy Tit (Hypolycaena amasa) was at first puddling on the ground.  It decided to rest on a leaf once it had enough mineral solution uptake from the ground.    
It opened its wings fully for an afternoon sun bathing.
 The Angled Sunbean (Curetis acuta dentata) appeared to be common as I encountered it at two different locations.
This is another species, the Bright Sunbeam (Curetis bulis).
I was lucky to be able to shoot something new this trip - the Blue Brilliant (Simiskina phalia potina)
 The upperside shot confirms that this is a female.
Another gem, the Common Gem (Poritia hewitsoni) was shot at Doi Suthep.

The Common Purple Sapphire (Heliophorus epicles) is an attractive and common butterfly in northern Thailand.    

  To be continued.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Butterflies of Northen Thailand (Oct 2018) Part 1 (Skippers)

I am going to share mainly butterfly species that I have encountered from 9 - 16 Oct when I was with a Antonio. Our butterfly-hunting grounds were in Chiang Dao, Mount Suthep, Mount Inthanon and Mae Kampong. 

I was very fortunate to meet up with Andy Ho from Hong Kong in Chaing Mai and we had a good time shooting together at Doi Suthep on 16 Oct.

I will begin with skippers - most of them were photographed at the Chiang Dao foothill where a parking area is. I hope the authority there will not cover it up with concrete cement ! 

Skippers belong to the butterfly family Hesperiidae.  They usually dart at a high speed and many of them are quite small and  don't usually attract our attention. However, there are many cute-looking and interesting skippers. For examples, the Common Orange Awlet (Burara harissa) looks chubby -  a rather common species as it was spotted at a few different locations.
Awlet and Awl skippers have the habit of coming out early in the morning or late in the evening. This Green-streaked Awlet (Burara amara) was shot in a late evening at a dark corner at Chiang Dao.

This specimen was taken early in the morning outside our accommodation at Bhupha Garden, a short distance away from our main hunting ground in Chiang Dao.
Many macro-photographers love Choaspes species because their 'outfits' are attractive. They are  usually alert and  it is challenging to photograph them as well as identify them with confidence. This guy looks like The Formosa Awlking (Choaspes benjaminii) was super fast even when it was feeding.
Here is another interesting skipper. This is the Tiger Hopper (Ochus subvittatus) - though a tiny skipper, the black spots on the yellowish ground colour of both wings make it quite prominent.  
There are quite a number of skippers having yellowish or orangey 'outfits' - The Golden Ace (Thoressa masoni ) is rather common.
Skippers in the Pothanthus genus looks similar - this mating pair is likely to be the P. mingo - female is on the left.
Next set of skippers blend very well with the ground - to spot them puddling needs our full focus and good eyesight. This is the Light Straw Ace (Pithauria stramineipennis stramineipennis).
The head section of the Arnetta atkinsoni is a lot more triangular in shape.
The Halpe species can be quite difficult to identify with certainty. This looks like the Halpe filda.
Another common skipper the Pale Marked Ace (Halpe hauxwelli).
You can notice that the close resemblance of the dotty markings on different skippers -   this is The Silver-breast Ace (Sovia albipectus).
The Grass Dart (Taractrocera maevius) surely looks very similar to the above Silver-breast Ace.
If we are not careful enough, we can easily mix up the next three Ace's. The Northen Ace (Thoressa cerata) has a prominent white spot near the base of the hindwing.
The Banded Ace (Halpe zema) looks very similar to the Long-banded Ace (Halpe zola) and it is rarer.    
The Moore's Ace (Halpe porus) is quite common instead.
Some skippers tend to perch on foliage more often then to puddle on the ground.This is a Koruthaialos species.
This dark brown and relatively large skipper is the Restricted Demon (Notocrypta curvifascia) - it was spotted at a few locations.  
The Starry Bob (Iambrix stellifer) presented a nice perch on a leaf that I could not resist taking a few shots.
Two White Palmers (Acerbas anthea) appeared in the morning outside our accommodation. Both were very active and  uncooperative  for me to get better shots.

We can find skippers that tend to perch flat on or beneath the leaf surface. This is the Water Snow Flat (Tagiades litigiosa). Can you spot the difference between the Spotted Snow Flat (Tagiades menaka menaka) ?   
 Both Flats were shot at Doi Suthep.
The Large Snow Flat (Tagiades gana meetana) came out for sunbathing at Doi Suthep.
We have a different subspecies of the Yellow Snow Flat (Mooreana trichoneura) in  Malaysia and Singapore. The pralaya subspecies here seems to have a larger yellow patch on the hindwings.
Another unattractive and 'boring' Common Snow Flat (Tagiades japectus).
The Yellow-Banded Flat ( Celaenorrhinus aurivittatus) loved feeding on wild flowers,  making it easier for us to snap a few shots.
Among the spread-winged skippers in Singapore, we have only two Gerosis species but they are very rare. In Thailand, they are rather common. This is the Common White Flat (Gerosis bhagava bhagava ) - unsettled  at first but it decided to sunbathe when the sun was up. 
The Variable White Flat (Gerosis phisara phisara ) was quite active while feeding, changing perch very frequently.
A long distance shot this time, the Hairy Angle (Darpa hanria) preferred to stay far away from us.
The Fulvous Pied Flat (Pseudocoladenia dan fabia) was spotted a few times at different locations in Chiang Mai. The underside shot was taken late in the afternoon.

 To be continued