Friday, December 18, 2009

Some Butterfly Species @ Fung Yuen, Hong Kong

Fung Yuen Butterfly Reserve at Tai Po, Hong Kong is well-known for its rich butterfly diversity, its relentless effort and successes in butterfly conservation in Hong Kong. I was very fortunate to have a chance to visit the place on 10 Dec (thanks John for giving me a lift from Royal Park Hotel, Shatin). I am very grateful to the warm hospitality shown by the staff members at Fung Yuen, they are Colleen Chiu, Kin Chung and Smith Wong. Thanks a lot. Please let me know if you plan to visit us.When Colleen and Chung brought us around the place, a White Dragontail (Lamproptera curius) suddenly perched in front of me, on a leaf surface of its host plant Illigera celebica. My first shot of the day of this White Dragontail served as a welcome gift for me.
One of the smallest and uniquely shaped butterfly in the Family Papilioidae, White Dragontail has a substantial portion of its forewing being transparent and a long white-tipped tails which make it a very special butterfly.

It was very skittish and flapping its wings at high speeds when it was feeding on different flowers. The only underside snap I had is this pathetic long distance shot. There were at least 3 or 4 individuals zipping around but I just didn’t have the luck to take a up close shot. Purple Sapphire (Heliophorus epicles) is such a brilliantly-coloured and beautiful Lycaenid which would excite every visitor. I spotted at least 3 of them, out in the sun feeding on Bidens flowers. I was awed by the beautiful upperside of the male Yellow Orange Tip (Ixias pyrene) when it flew past us a few times at a rocket speed. When you look at its underside when feeding, we can be mistaken it as an Orange Emigrant butterfly This Glassy Tiger (Parantica agela melanoides) was seen fluttering from flower to flower, very choosy about selecting the flowers. It decided to feed on the Bidens flowers and I got a chance to snap a few shots. Here is a view of its upperside wings - very similar to our Dark Glassy Tiger (Parantica agleoides agleoides) Dark Cerulean (Jamides bochus) was abundant. The intense metallic blue upperside that could be seen during its erratic flights enticed me to stalk and chase for it - but it rarely opened its wings when at rest.Here is another individual taking a short rest under the hot noon sun. Common Hedge Blue (Acytolepis puspa) appeared when I was about to move back to the reception area. The hindwing markings are not that heavy compared to our local subspecies lambi. I believe this is a Common Grass Yellow (Eurema hecabe), busy feeding from flower to flower, a very skittish species that I hardly had a good chance of getting an up close shot. It remained very alert all the time and I could only manage a long distance shot like this.This Red-based Jezebel (Delias pasithoe) was the first species that I sighted at Fung Yuen, but I could only get this lucky shot when this guy suddenly perched on a leaf above my eye level around noon. It was so common that I could spot many of them flying around at Shatin Park just behind our hotel. We are familiar with this Pea Blue or Long-tailed Blue (Lampides boeticus) as it is quite a common species in Singapore.
This is an upperside shot of another specimen basking under the hot noon sun.I am very impressed by the many activities that Fung Yuen organises to reach out to the community to promote butterfly conservation on a regular basis. For examples, Butterfly Festival is conducted on every last Sunday of the month, Butterfly Watching Race and Ecotour etc . I am sure butterfly lovers and conservationists around the world has much to learn from Fung Yuen. Well done Fung Yuen !

Photos by Wan San, John and Federick Ho

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