Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Arhopala Lycaenids of Langkawi

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It has always been a "big headache" for me to identify Arhopala species as they are too many look-alikes and the differences between them are just too subtle and insignificant to be distinguished from each others based on photographs. 

I encountered very few tailless Arhopalas in this trip. This is the only decent shot of the Arhopala moolaiana maya.
Thanks to CH for spotting this rather unique Arhopala ijanensis. Stepping on the rocks in the stream, I managed to take a quick shot of this interesting-looking species.
You can see that the markings of the Arhopala democritus democritus  are distinctively different from other Arhopala species.  

At the end of the forest trail at Lubuk Semilang where the waterfall is, there were quite a number of Arhopala species flitting around - but most of them were very alert and sensitive to flash. This is Arhopala alitaeus mirabella.
The Arhopala aedias agnis (Large Metallic Oakblue) seemed to be common at one particular spot along the forest trail where I also shot it last year. (I realise that picture that I saw in Blogspot is very different - brighter and nosier, why ?)
I didn't manage to get a shot of the Arhopala perimuta regina last year - I saw two different specimen this year.
Another specimen that I shot on the 8 Dec in a shade near the waterfall.
This is the Arhopala lurida "hopping" around along the forest trail.
It appeared to be abundant this time - here are a few specimen.
Finally, I want to thanks Dr Seow for identifying and confirming many of the species that I shot in Langkawi.

Wishing all readers of the blog a fruitful and healthy 2014 ahead.


Saturday, December 28, 2013

Skipper Butterflies of Langkawi

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Along the main forest trail leading to the waterfall at Lubuk Semilang, I saw more skippers this year. These two brown skippers were identified as Borbo cinnara by Dr Seow of BC - both specimen were not far apart from each other.

A small skipper was puddling on the ground near the entrance to the forest trail at Lubuk Semilang. It looks like a  Pelopidas agna agna .
Another brown skipper was found feeding on a purple flower of the Butterfly-pea (Clitoria ternatea). Perhaps this is another P agna agan.
At the waterfall area, a  Pelopidas mathias mathias rested on a concrete wall.
This Brown Awl (Badamia exclamationis) zipped past me a few times before settling  underneath a leaf.
The Zela species are generally rare and they are usually found in lowland forest. Thanks Les for highlighting that this is Zela excellens instead of Zonara solex due to its whitened antennal club. This was the only shot taken without the flash light.
There were at least two White-tipped Palmers (Lotongus calathus calathus) "dog-fighting" under the morning hot sun on 8 Dec at Lubuk Semilang. When one of  them landed on a leaf a few meters away from me, I quickly positioned myself and snapped two quick shots. 
The Banded Demon (Notocrypta paralysos variants) was shot at Telaga Tujuh next to a stream.
The Fulvous Pied Flat (Pseudocoladenia dan dhyana ) came out to sunbathe in the late afternoon. It scooted off  and changed its perch to somewhere nearby whenever it was flashed. I had to take this shot without using the flashlight. However, I noticed that at a certain shutter speed, I could capture a clear image even it reacted strongly to the flashlight.   
Another Flat skipper Sarangesa dasahara dasahara at Lubuk Semilang also displayed the same behaviour as what Fulvous Pied Flat did.
The Narrow-banded Velvet Bob (Koruthaialos rubecula rubecula) can be distinguished from another look-alike K. sindu by its long and thin third segment of the palpi. I saw quite a few of them at different spots especially along forest edges. 

I will show all my Arhopala species in my next blog post.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Butterflies of Langkawi Part 2

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The Banded Peacock (Papailio palinurus palinurus) is a gorgeous and beautiful papilionid. I shot this at Telaga Tujuh when it was taking a short rest on a leaf. But what a pity, a tail was gone.
It was generally quiet at Telaga Tujuh. A rather pristine Common Imperial (Cheritra freja freja) refused to come down from the tree top no matter how I "disturbed" it.
The weather on 10 Dec was no good. While  CH, Mr Neo and I were having our lunch in a shelter at Lubuk Semilang, a large butterfly showing patches of iridescent blue  flying past us and rested across a stream. I followed suit and took a long-distance shot to find out what it was. I think this is the Amathuxidia amythaon dilucida.
I missed a few times shooting a rather small lycaenid. With patience, I finally shot an Allotinus substrigosus subtrigosus along a forest trail at Lubuk Semilang on 10 Dec.
The waterfall at the end of the forest trail was a popular picnic area for the locals. I sat on a rock enjoying the cooling breeze and watching some kids frolicking in the water. A hopping brown butterfly caught my eye - this is the Coelites epiminthia epiminthia (The Straight-banded Catseye).
This species usually is skittish and likes to hop around on the forest floor. I kept chasing it and got another shot.
 The Malay Yeoman (Cirrichroa emalea emalea) was plentiful along the main forest at Lubuk Semilang.
At the "base camp" of Lubuk Semilang, I saw a few Dark Posies (Drupadia theda renonga).
There is an open grass patch at the other end of the  forest trail  - a Knight (Lebadea martha martha) was found on a nice perch for me to take a few shots.
We went to Kisap on 11 Dec with the hope of hunting down the Yellow Pansy but we had no luck at all. However, we did get some shots. This Pschye is of a different subspecices (Leptosia nina nina) so I took a shot of it.
A Clubsilverline (Spindasis syama terana) was alerted by  Mr Neo. CH found it perching on a grass blade.
There were at least two Common Pierrots (Castalius rosimon rosimon) "dog-fighting" on a grass patch. At last one of them rested on a blade of grass for quite awhile.
Browns are hard to identified correctly - this is likely to be a Mycalesis perseoides .
I think this might be a Mycalesis perseus cepheus found at Kisap. 
A Common Four-ring (Ypthima huebneri) was sunbathing in the morning sun along a slip road at Kisap.
On the last day at Lubuk Semilang, CH and I stayed at the waterfall areas. This is a Papilio nephelus annulus which was circling round the area and came down to puddle occasionally.
It had a tendency to look for a  perch with wings open after it puddled for awhile.
This year we spent more time prowling the forest trail at Lubuk Semilang as the number of puddling butterflies was significantly lesser. 

To be continued.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Puddling Butterflies of Langkawi Part 1

Many thanks to my colleague who drove me from Fraser's Hill to the KLIA's Low Cost Terminal to catch an afternoon AirAsia flight to Langkawi on 7 Dec. The flight was delayed by almost an hour nevertheless it was a short and comfortable journey. It was my second time arriving at this small but cosy airport. I was quite surprised to know that the taxi fare from the airport to the town has been increased to $28 ringgit.

Finally I met CH at Azio Hotel in Kuah Town in the evening. We spent four days (8 to 11 Dec)  in Langkawi photographing at  Lubuk Semilang, Telaga Tujuh  and Kisap. It was my honour to witness two veterans Mr Teo and  Mr Neo working in the field who arrived in the early afternoon on 8 Dec.

Let me begin with some puddling butterfly shots. The Cirrochroa surya siamensis (The Little Yeoman) was rather common in Langkawi . It kept flapping its wings while puddling on the sandy ground at Telaga Tujuh.
The Malay Yeoman (Cirrochroa emalea emalea) was abundant. It could be spotted easily at Lubuk Semilang and Telaga Tujuh. I didn't bother to shoot them until this fellow stayed quite tame on a wet rock. 
I managed to take a shot of its undersides also.
This year I didn't see many Banded Grass Yellows (Eurema nicevillei nicevillei).When in flight, this species can be identified easily by a dorsal black band on its uppersides. 
A solitary Yellow Eurema simulatrix tecmessa was seen puddling along a sandy river bank.
This small lycaenid was seen puddling on a damp rock with moss at Lubuk Semilang - it is likely to be the  Nacaduba sanaya elioti.
I believe this is Nacaduba subperusia lysa which was taken on 8 Dec morning when only two of us, CH and I were exploring Lubuk Semilang.
This Nacaduba kurava was shot on a tarred road in Kisap on 11 Dec.
Here is another 6-lined Nacaduba species.
The Straight Peirrot (Caleta roxus pothus) wasn't vary common. I spotted only two different individuals - this one was seen at Kisap early in the morning.
Take a good look at this shot - do they look alike ? This is Elbowed Peirrot (Caleta elna elvira).
This shot was taken to ascertain if it was new to me - of course it was not. The Lesser Grass Blue (Zizina otis lampa) was abundant along a slip road at Kisap.
The Common Line Blue (Prosotas nora superdates) was quite common at the Lubuk Semilang waterfall areas. 
There were many Lexis butterflies  flying past me along the forest paths. Occasionally, they just puddled in front of me. Both female and male Archduke (L. pardalis dirteana) love to look for food source on the ground. 
I was rather lucky to shoot two different but look-alike Sunbeams (Curetis species).This looks like the Curetis bulis stigmata which I shot last year.
This one looks more like the Curetis santana malayica (The Malayan Sunbeam) found at the waterfall at Lubuk Semilang.
I didn't get to see many Nawabs in this trip. This is  Polyura  moori moori  shot at the Lubuk Semilang waterfall.
A better specimen was found at the Telaga Tujuh.
Pity that this Charaxes bernardus Crepax (The Common Tawmy Rajah) wasn't pristine. Though it didn't stay long on the ground but it came back to the same spot a few times.
This year, I didn't get to see many Graphium species. Only the Blue Jay (Graphium evemon eventus) seemed to be very common.
 
It was a sunny and hot day at Telaga Tujuh on 9 Dec but butterfly activity was rather low. This was the result of a hasty shot of  an active and alert  Fivebar Swordtail (Pathysa antiphates itamputi ) at Telaga Tujuh.
To make up for the unsatisfactory framing of the Fivebar shot, I composed this Common Hedge Blue (Acytolepis puspa lambi) shot more carefully. 

More species will be featured in my next blog post.