Friday, July 2, 2010

Baby Common Birdwings @ AH Butterfly Trail

I dropped by Alexandra Hospital Butterfly Trail (AHBT) on a fine Saturday morning a few weeks ago to check out the conditions of the trail as it is now under a different management.

There were a few Common Birdwings (Troides helena cerberus) hovering around at tree tops. At last one of them came down to lay eggs - I quickly took an instinctive shot. There were many Common Birdwing larvae feeding on their host plant - Aristolochia acuminata. This late instar larva was munching a young stem. This is not a surprise as the caterpillars of Common Birding are known to be voracious eaters. This is another larva. When it was disturbed displayed its orange osmeterium to scare away any potential predators. Yet another larva was hanging on the stem peacefully, ignoring my presence. This late instar caterpillar of Mottled Emigrant (Catopsilia pyranthe pyranthe) was found on its host plant, Seven Golden Candlesticks (Senna alata).This butterfly is a male Baron (Euthalia aconthea gurda ) which is quite common along the trail. It has the tendency to puddle on the ground and sun-bathe with wings open. Another common urban butterfly, Common Palmfly (Elymnias hypermnestra agina) can be found wherever there are palm trees around. A rather skittish species which is always very shy to show off its uppersides when at rest. A rare shot of this rather large and common Arhopala species, Centaur Oakblue (Arhopala pseudocentaurus nakula), showing us a glimpse of its striking metallic blue uppersides.I am not very sure of what this critter is, a kind of Stink Bug perhaps, resting peacefully on a tree trunk waiting to be "shot". Frankly, I was really puzzled by the appearance of this creature in the field. After I examined the shot carefully, I think this is a species of an ant-mimicking spider biting an unknown black critter. Please correct me if I am wrong. Finally, another rare occasion when a Blue-banded bee (Amegilla species) was found resting on a dry wood. This is my best shot of this bee as it is usually active and acrobatic while feeding on flowers.I am glad to see that AHBT is still very well-maintained and full of butterfly activities despite the change of "ownership". We should maintain this place as it is for city dwellers to appreciate the elegance and beauty of many species of butterflies roaming around in the heart of a busy city area.

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