Friday, June 19, 2009

Fauna Show @ USR Part 1 (Butterfly Species)

Indeed, getting some shots on a rare skipper at Upper Seletar Reservoir (USR) Park (previous post) really infused me with high spirit and motivation of hunting for more. So I visited USR again with some ButterflyCicle members. I managed to capture quite a few other butterfly species though somewhat common.

I always found Hypolimnas anomala anomala (Malayan Eggfly) resting with both wings closed like this. Once it has got used to our presence, we could photograph this species quite easily.

We have seen female of this species laid a large number of eggs at one go. But strangely I have not seen many adults at USR. I suppose the mortality rate of its early stages was very high. Malayan Eggfly has two forms in Singapore - this is form anomala, more common than the other form, nivas which I encountered and shot before in the western part of the nature reserves.

Neither a good shot nor a pristine specimen, I would still like to present this shot on Drupadia rufotaenia rufotaenia (Pygmy Posy) butterfly, a small and rare forest beauty which is about half the size of its close resemblance, the Common Posy. Apart from the obvious difference in size, another distinguishing marking on this species is the long sub-marginal orange streak on the underside hindwing. ButterflyCircle blog featured an excellent article on this species.
Pantoporia hordonia hordonia (Common Lascar) can be easily mixed up with two other Lasippa species. There are two broad orange bands on the hindwing above compared to the other two species having an additional thin marginal orange streak. It was usually found in forest clearings or along forest trails, showing its habit of coming down to the ground level, fluttering and gliding slowly between each perch. Once a while, it may rest long enough for us to take a few shots like this.

This mating pair presents to us a clear view of the underside wings of Neptis leucoporos cresina (Grey Sailor). A rather common species among quite a few other black-and-white lookalikes, Grey Sailor can be found in our forest as well as in some urban parks. It was observed to have a tendency to glide and perch on a sunlit leaf with open wings or on fermented fruits.

Here is a shot of their upperside wings. They were too shy to open their wings fully. I should find out how to differentiate a male from a female.

This skipper Tagiades ultra was shot when it was sun-bathing at around noon. When it took off, the whitish underside wings could be seen quite clearly. A relatively rare and fast flyer, Tagiades ultra was observed to be territorial and it came back to the same or near-by perch often. Iamrix stellifer (Starry Bob) is rarer as compared to its close relative Iambrix salsala salsala (Chestnut Bob). It is quite easy to separate these two species as Starry Bob has more white dots on the underside hindwings than Chestnut Bob.

After spending many hours combing the foliage, scrutinising every movement of life, I finally saw a rare skipper Plastingia pellonia (Yellow Chequered Lancer) for the first time and narrowly missed the chance of getting a shot of another specimen less than a meter away from where the following Plastingia naga (Chequered Lancer) was.

A shade-loving skipper, Plastingia naga (Chequered Lancer) was shot under a thick canopy in a dark forest understory. This guys was tame and allowing some of us taking turns to photograph it. I could not believe myself I could get this shot at a shutter speed of 1/25 without a proper support.

When I was about to pack my camera into my bag, this Great Helen (Papilio iswara iswara), a large and elegant Swallowtail butterfly was found feeding on a row of Ixora flowers nearby under the scorching sun. It kept fluttering its forewings when feeding, posing a great challenge for us to snap a good shot. This shot was far from good as the shutter speed 1/320 was not fast enough to freeze the forewing tips.

I will be writing about my sightings of other critters in Part 2 of this blog article when I come back from my weekend trip to Endau Rompin.

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