Friday, April 10, 2009

Puddling Butterflies in Our Nature Reserves

It was a lovely cool Good Friday morning. Taking advantage of this public holiday, I ventured into our Central Catchment area. My first shot of the morning was this docile Hypolimnas anomala anomala (Malayan Eggfly). It was perching elegantly on a grass blade, overlooking a valley of greenery without noticing my presence.
Malayan Eggfly is rather common and it can be found near forest fringe.
Along the same stretch of the forest trail, I accidentally intruded the privacy of these two flies. This stink bug (?) with a long feeler was hiding underneath a grass blade. The head section looks rather unique to me.
Mikania micrantha (mile-a-minute) (Family Asteraceae/Compositae) is an invasive climbing weed that grows in open grounds and the edge of the forest. This noxious weed is usually not welcome by gardeners but insects in the wild love it so much.

On my return trip, I bumped into some puddling butterflies. I saw two Graphium sarpedon luctatius (Common Bluebottle) puddling on the ground. Trying to vary my shots, I tilted my camera to create a diagonal composition for this shot. A very attractive butterfly, Common Bluebottle is a strong and fast-flyer. On a sunny day, we could see them speeding past you at the ground level along forest trails.
Like Common Bluebottle, Graphium evemon eventus (Blue Jay) is another strong flyer which likes to puddle, sucking the minerals from the moist ground. They share similar habits and enjoy good company between them when come to puddling.
Another common forest denizen, male Vidula dejone erotella (Cruiser) has the habit of flapping its wings slowly while puddling.

Male Cruiser can be easily identified as both the upper and underside of the wings are orange in colour with wavy black markings along the margin. Female Cruiser looks very different from the male and is rarer.

Doleschallia bisaltide australis (Autumn Leaf) is very strong on the wing . This shot shows the subspecies australis which was not recorded by local butterfly watchers in the early days. It has become a very common species in the wild. Usually a very skittish and alert butterfly species, Catopsilia pomona pomona (Lemon Emigrant) can be found both in the forest and urban areas. There was an explosion of Prosotas nora superdates (Common Line Blue). On one particular spot along the bicycle trail in our nature reserves, there was at least a dozen of them puddling and fluttering near the ground.
This small and adorable black and white butterfly is Caleta elna elvira (Elbowed Pierrot). It is usually found fluttering erratically close to the forest trails. The size of this Prosotas dubiosa lumpura (Tailless Line Blue) is about the same as the Common Line Blue but the underside wings are more brownish grey. This is a very common species that can be found in abundance in urban parks as well.When in flight, the intense blue patches appear on the upperside of the male Acytolepis puspa lambi (Common Hedge Blue) is beautiful. A fond puddler, the male sometimes can get "drunk" by the minerals on the wet ground.
Eurema blanda snelleni (Three Spot Grass Yellow) usually congregates and puddles in a group when they are in good number. With patience I managed to isolate and shoot one of them.
Found this huge dragonfly, the largest I have seen, almost drowned in a stream. I used a twig to lift it up from the water and let it rest on a sand pile . If flew off a few minutes later.
I have no idea what this species is.

A few minutes later, another similar looking and fast-flying huge dragonfly appeared from nowhere and started laying eggs.

It would have been a better Good Friday if the weather had not turned bad in the early afternoon. Anyway, it was still a very fruitful outing for me.


  1. Hi Federick,

    The dragonfly is Anax guttatus (Hairy Emperor).


  2. Thanks Robin for your help in the id.