Sunday, February 22, 2009

Central Catchment 21 Feb 2009

On a lovely blue sky Saturday morning , a typical weather in a very dry month of February, a few of us from ButterflyCircle and Nparks surveyed and explored a forest fringe .

My first sighting of the day was this orange skipper. As usual, it liked to bask under the morning sun, giving me a good opportunity to capture the upperside markings. I realise that there are some black spots on the hindwing termen margin. It took off with a high speed when I tried to get closer. Luckily, it settled on a new perch again after a short flight. The wings remained close for a very short moment before they opened again, partially at times. So, to capture a clear underside picture for identicfication purpose, I had to "reset" its perch a few times and take the shot quickly the moment it rested again with closed wings. The more pronounced outlines of the black markings suggest that it may not be a Telicota species. I think this is more likely to be a Potanthus serina.

Potanthus omaha omaha (Lesser Dart) is a close relative of Potanthus serina but slightly smaller in size. A very common skipper on grasslands as well as along forest edges, Lesser Dart displys the above behaviour as well.

Quite a few Eurema sari sodalis ( Chocolate Grass Yellow) belonging to the Pieridae family, were busy fluttering close to the ground level from flower to flower. Here is a lucky shot on this pristine specimen when it was feeding on the Common Asystasia flower in front of me. Another common forest skipper, Pyroneura latoia latoia (Yellow Vein Lancer) likes to feed on the small white flowers of Leea indica. The underside wing patterns and colours are distinctive enough that we would not miss this skipper in the field. Notice that the clubs of the antennae are light yellow in colour.In my past few years of butterfly watching in the wild, I have never seen so many Notocryta paralusos varians (Banded Demon) at one time . I think this is due to the abundance of ginger plant species around the area.

Banded Demon is a relatively rare skipper. We were indeed fortunate to spot a docile mating pair.
This dark brown skipper with unmarked hindwings, looks like a Caltoris species.
I can never be sure of identifying such a skipper.

A rather territorial butterfly, Euthalia aconthea gurda (Baron) was seen feeding on the Singapore Rhododendron (Melastoma malabathricum) . I waited a while for it to perch at a good position. However, I could only capture this shot from an elevated angle.
My last butterfly shot of the day was this male Tanaecia iapis puseda (Horsfield's Baron), a sexually dimorphic species in the Nymphalidae family. At least three individual males were spotted and they had the habit of returning to the same perch, usually on the edge of a leaf. Lastly, some non-butterfly shots. The white small flowers of Leea indica also attracted some bees and wasps. This wasp was quite co-operative enough for me to snap a few shots.
A very tiny fly was found roaming on this attractive white flower of a climber.
A fungus growing on a dry wood was found on the undergrowth.
Othe butterfly species spotted :
1. Graphium agamemnon agamemnon (Tailed Jay)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Lower Peirce Reservoir Park On 7 Feb 2009

A bit late in posting this entry this time. After a busy Chinese New Year weekends, my first outing on a rather cloudy Saturday morning was to explore a portion of the forest edges near the Lower Peirce Reservoir Park. This time, I was with some friends from the ButterflyCircle and Nparks.

Failing to find any insect life after 10 - 15 mins of hunting, I could sense that the insects were either asleep or on a prolonged Chinese New Year holidays, visiting some other places.

My first snap of the day was this brown skipper, a long distance shot
The brownish unmarked hindwing and the opaque spots on the forewing suggest that this might be a Baoris species - anyway, I can't be sure.

Usually, we would spot Tagiades gana gana (Large Snow Flat) basking in the sun along forest trails with an open-winged posture. However, perhaps due to the cool weather, this particular Large Snow Flat was quite lethargic and tame when I spotted it. From my field observations, I noticed that Large Snow Flat was quite territorial and it often perched on the upperside of a leaf after a short flight. This hoverfly looks like a Eristalinus arvorum. It was busy hunting for nectar on the tiny Bougainvillea flowers and quite oblivious to our presence. Our bees and wasps expert, John was explaining to us that one way to distinguish a fly from a bee is that a fly has only one pair of wings and generally has bigger eyes compared to two pairs of wings and smaller eyes in bees. This blue beetle with a long feeler was surveying the ground above my eye level. Getting this shot was quite a challenge for me as the wind was strong at that moment. Very rare to see that the two antennae were inclined at an awakard angle.

This small butterfly, Zizeeria maha serica (Pale Grass Blue) was shot along the Ixora hedges just besides the carpark. Likely to be found also in urban parks, Pale Grass Blue can be easily mistaken for the other two similar species - Zizula hylax pygmaea (Pygmy Grass Blue) and Zizina otis lampa (Lesser Grass Blue) The submarginal black markings on both wings are more prominant than the other two species -

My first impression was that I might have chanced upon a new Lacaenid as the forewing black markings were something I have never seen before. However, the flight pattern, the tendency to flutter at low bushes and the whitish light blue uppersides suggested very strongly to me that it was a Jamides celeno aelianus (Common Caerulean). Taking a closer look at the shot, I realised that its forewing did not develop properly during the eclosion process. I have no idea what I had shot below, a nymph perhaps ? It looks rather interesting.

Lastly, this is a low-flying common moth we always see at the ground level among the grass.