Friday, January 29, 2010

Butterfly Survey @ Ang Mo Kio Town West Garden

A relatively large neighbourhood park occupying an area of 21 hectare (1 hectare is 10 thousands square metres) , Ang Mo Kio Town West Garden is situated opposite Ang Mo Kio Town Library along Ang Mo Kio Avenue 6.

Siew Chuen from Nparks, Khew and I did a quick butterfly survey on a very fine Saturday morning. We were also discussing how to attract more butterflies to the garden.
This tiny Lesser Grass Blue (Zizina otis lampa) was my first shot. A few of them were seen fluttering erratically and feeding on small wild flowers such as the Cupid's Shaving Brush (Emilia sonchifolia). A big bush of Lantana flowers near the entrance attracted quite a number of butterflies . We saw a colony of Leopards (Phalanta phalantha phalantha) fluttering and feeding on the Lantana flowers. Getting a shot with a clean and nice bokeh of this species is always a challenge as they are usually skittish and flapping their wings constantly when feeding. Here is a record shot.
Quite a few Lemon Emigrants (Catopsilia pomona pomona) were "fighting" for nectar. Again, a fast and skittish species most of the time, Lemon Emigrant is widely distributed in Singapore and it has several forms. This is a male form alcmeone.Here is another form hiding his head while feeding.This is another individual resting in a shade. I hope seeing all these flying jewels in our parks and gardens would make you curious to know more about them.This brown skipper looks more like a Small Branded Swift (Pelopidas mathias mathias) zipping from flower to flower. We have to be patient with it before we can get a decent shot.
This Chestnut Bob (ambrix salsala salsala ) was initially feeding on the Common Snakeweed (Stachytarpheta indica) when I snapped a shot. However, the camera flash might have triggered it to take a "back flight". Really, I didn't know how the shot ended up like this. Quite a number of Common Grass Yellows (Eurema hecabe contubernalis ) were there to add more vibrancy to the garden. Since its larval host plant Peacock Flower (Caesalpinia pulcherrima) is rather abundant so we should expect this species to be a permanent resident of the park.
This is Ciliate Blue (Anthene emolus goberus). A common Lycaenid in both our parks and forest fringes, it has a very distinctive dorsal black dot on the underside of the hindwings. This Grass Demon (Udaspes folus) flew pass me a few times, close to the ground. It has a habit of opening its wings slightly when at rest. Initially it was very alert and never allowed me to get closser, however, it gave in to my persistant chasing eventually. There is a big pond near the entrance. I guess the garden shuold have a good number of Odonata species. As our focus was on buttefly species, we didn't take a good look at the pond area. However, I still managed to shoot one damselfly near the entrance. I am not sure if this is Agriocnemis femina.
Other butterfly species sighted (hope I didn't miss out any) :

1. Appias libythea olferna (Striped Albatross, 利比尖粉蝶)
2. Papilio polytes romulus (Common Mormon, 玉带凤蝶)
3. Phaedyma columella singa (Short-Banded Sailor)
4. Graphium sarpedon luctatius(Common Bluebottle, 青凤蝶)
5. Elymnias hypermnestra agina (Common Palmfly)
6. Hypolycaena erylus teatus (Common Tit)
7. Junonia hedonia ida (Chocolate Pansy)

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