Saturday, January 19, 2013

Butterflies of Langkawi Part 3

Continue from the previous  post

Many adult butterflies do not restrict their food source to just the nectar from flowers. Mud puddles, bird droppings, secretions from animals, plant saps, fermented fruits, moist soils and salt solutions are some other common sources of diet for adult butterflies. Butterfly photographers therefore always look for possibilities to make butterflies engaging themselves in puddling activities as puddling-butterflies offer good shooting opportunities for us to capture their beauty and elegance in their natural behaviour.  

Over the years, I often noticed  butterflies from the  Papilionidae family had a strong tendency to puddle on moist ground. Let me begin with a series of three Common Jay (Graphium doson evemonides) pictures as shown below.
What did you see in the above three pictures? I didn't notice that there was a spider on the ground when I took the first shot. I was puzzled when and how the spidert had landed on the forewing tip the next moment shown in the next two photos. The fate of this Common Jay was unknown to me when it took off.

This is Papilio nephelus annulus. I misidentified this to be the Blue Helen (Papilio prexaspes prexaspes) initially - thanks Dr Seow from the ButterflyCircle forum for correcting me.
This pristine Tailed Jay (Graphium agamemnon agamemnon) stayed away from a group of puddling butterflies - that was good for me to take an unobstructed shot of its posture.
It was a great pity that this upperside shot of another Tail Jay late in the afternoon when it was sunbathing  at the entrance to a forest trail at Lubuk Semilang did not reveal the green spots fully.  
Among the puddling Papilionidae butterflies, we often find the Blue Jay (Graphium evemon eventus). In fact, I wasn't keen to take this shot until another Blue Jay presented me a rare occasion of displaying its uppersides infront of me under the hot afternoon sun.   
The Green Jay (Graphium arycles arycles) was rather uncommon as we saw only one individual throughout the trip.
Only one male Great Mormon (Papilio memnon agenor) joined a few other puddling butterflies. Occasionally he took a short rest on a leaf near by. 
This is how it looked like when he was on the ground
This Wizard (Rhinopalpa polynice) came down to puddle at CH's location when I was at another place prowling along a forest trail. Fortunately, I came back on on time to snap two shots before it was chased away by an ant. 
The Little Banded Yeoman (Paduca fasciata fasciata) was a small skittish  fellow that made me putting in lots of effort in snapping a few shots. 
It kept flapping its wings while it was feeding on the ground.  I had to go down low on the ground to "fire" rapidly just to capture the moment when its wings were folded. .

The Little Yeoman displayed the same behaviour as the Little Banded Yeoman -flapping its wings constantly.
However, it did become docile after it had enough fluid-intake. Now it rested on a wooden step of a bridge at the Seven Well Waterfall.
It was quite abundant as we could see a few of them at another location. This fellow was quite "drunk:" which stayed rather still, giving me a bit more time to take this underside shot.
A lonely Striped Blue Crow (Euploea mulciber mulciber) appeared for a while before it went into hiding.  I noticed that  different butterfly species came down to feed on the damp soils at different times.
Some species from the Pieridae family were also keen puddlers. This prominent butterfly is the Orange Albatross (Appias nero figulina).
In contract, the Common Albatross (Appias albina darada) is less appealing to the eyes.
This is another specimen taken at the same location as the above shot.
A lonely Tree Yellow (Gandaca harina distanti) was photographed along a river bank.
Some lycaenid butterflies like to puddle also. For example, at least half a dozen of  Sumbeams (Curetis bulis) were found at two different locations.
Another shot of a C. bulis at a different location  Lubuk Semilang.

This upperside shoe should be useful to confirm the identification of the species.
This Ciliate Blue (Anthene emolus) was smaller than a typical specimen found in Singapore.
At the end of each long day of butterfly-hunting and photographing in the wild, we would browse and process some of the photos in the comfort of the hotel room,  enjoy the scenic sew views afar before we went for dinner.  I would never forget such a spectacular sunset in Langkawi.         

Next post : Skippers of Langkawi

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