Monday, February 15, 2010

Two Dukes @ Lornie Trail

On the eve of Chinese Lunar New Year (13 Feb) I could only afford a quick outing in the afternoon. I had no definite plan of where I should go but since the bus going to Lornie Trail (LT) arrived first so once again I headed out to LT.

The refreshing breeze and the chorus of insects filled the forest ambiance. I really enjoyed the tranquility and solitude offered by our nature reserves in a very peaceful afternoon.

Purple Duke (Eulaceura osteria kumana) is rather common in our nature reserves as its larval food plant Gironniera subaequalis is quite abundant in many parts of our forested areas. Purple Duke tends to fold up its wings and hide under the leaf when it is alerted. This is a male specimen showing clearly its bluish purple underside in the presence of the camera flash light.

However, it does rest on the leaf surface at times. Occasionally, it may open up its wings and sunbathe. Purple Duke flies very fast however it does not seem to fly far between successive perches and that make it easier for us to track its movement. The life history of Purple Duke has beem brilliantly documented in the ButterflyCircle's blog here . Another "Duke" we are likely to meet in the forest is the Archduke (Lexias pardalis dirteana). Both male and female individuals were seen sailing or gliding along forest paths and quite often puddling on the rotten fruits or damp soil. While this male Archduke was puddling on the ground, I took a quick shot when his wings were momentarily folded.This is his open-winged posture, a rather pristine specimen. There were at least a couple of them in the same vicinity. Another excellent write-up on the life history of Archduke can be found at the ButterfluCircle's blog here. The actions of how a mother Grey Sailor (Neptis leucoporos cresina) was laying an egg on Gironniera subaequalis were captured (yes the same host plant as the Purple Duke. There is a write-up on this shrub in Flora of China). She was seen fluttering around and checking on a few leaves on the host plant before landing on a leaf surface.

She moved backwards and finally she knew where the spot was - the tip of the leaf and a green elliptically shaped egg was laid.

On my way home along another side trail leading to Lornie Road, I met this large and dull skipper, Coconut Skipper (Hidari irava) resting in a shade.
Just a few metres away from the skipper, I spotted an Arhopala species high on a shrub. My first impression was that it looks like one of those rarer species.
This interesting smiling-face spider which I shot last weekend appeared to be guarding her babies a week later. I can't figure out what exactly she was doing in the picture.Though I took the same old trail as last weekend, I could still find and capture some different critters in the forest. That shows our nature reserve areas are still quite rich in biodiversity and vibrant enough to give us surprises at times. But, with the help, cooperation of the public and the support of the relevant authority, I hope our forests will offer us more fauna and flora in years to come.

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