Friday, May 7, 2010

Flying Jewels @ Gua Tempurung Part 1

It has been almost a year since my last butterfly-watching trip to Malaysia (see here). This year we decided to visit Perak, Malaysia by car. Three of us, BJ, Yong and I set off at dawn on 30 April. Thanks Yong for taking the trouble to be our driver and guide.

We enjoyed the cool morning and the journey very much. We made only two stops along the north-south highway, having our breakfast at Yong Peng in Johor state and lunch at a KFC outlet along the highway near Kuala Lumpur. We reached Kampar around 3 pm, earlier than we had expected.

After checking into the Grand Kampar Hotel, with great excitement we immediately headed out to Gua Tempurung , our first hunting ground, about a 15-minute drive from the hotel. The picture here shows the river bank near the entrance to the cave.
White Dragontail (Lamproptera curius curius) is one of the smallest butterflies in the family Papilionidae. It flies like a dragonfly with its forewings flapping at a high speed. This was a rare moment when one of them took a short nap on a fern.
There were quite a few of them puddling along the river bank most of the time, presenting different postures for us to photograph these black beauties.
Thought it is not a colourful butterfly, its two white-tipped long tails and the rather unique transparent forewings certainly make the White Dragontail butterfly a charm to many macro-photographers.

I accidentally stumbled over this Tufted Jungle King (Thauria aliris pseudaliris) on the side of the river bank under the rocky hill where some wild vegetation rules. A rather huge butterfly whose preferred habitat is the shady forest undergrowth, Tufted Jungle King certainly camouflages well with the leaves litter. The orange upperside was quite prominent when it was in flight.

Common Pierrot (Castalius rosimon rosimon) is a small black-and-white butterfly. A rather common species up north in many parts of Malaysia, but I have not seen one in Singapore yet.

I was rather lucky to see two Bassarona species at the same place where the Tufted Jungle King was resting. This is a Red-spot Marguis (Bassarona recta monilis) taking a shot break in the shade after feeding on a leaf surface.
I took a quick shot of its underside when it was flapping its wings while feeding

There were quite a few Great Marquis (Bassarona dunya dunya ) butterflies flying around. A relatively large and robust Nymphalid which appears to be shade-loving, the Great Marquis very often rests with its wings open fully.
Here is a record shot of the underside of another individual which suddenly landed in front of me from nowhere. In my next post, I will feature some other butterflies and critters which I found at places further away from the river bank - you would be surprised to see the ultra-rich insect diversity around the Gua Tempurung area.

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