Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Butterflies of Northern Thailand Part 5 (Nymphalids)

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The Leaf Butterfly (Kallima inachus) is shaped like a dry leaf and its underside wings blend very well with the ground and its preferred habitat.
Occasionally, it flapped  its wings rather erratically, giving us an opportunity to shoot its attractive iridescence on the uppersides. 
Another specimen - the markings, the size and the position of black spots on the undersides often vary.  If you want to read more about the foraging behavior of this butterfly, read this journal article.
The Lavender Count (Cynitia cocytus cocytus) presented a nice perch in front of me at Chiangdao.
I only sighted one Eastern Courtier (Sephisa Chandra Chandra) at Doi Inthanon this time. Very often we encountered the males visiting damp ground to imbibe nutrient solutions.  

We didn't get to see many Nawab butterflies this trip. This Pallid Nawab (Polyura arja) was hooked on the ground for a long period of time.  
Indian Yellow Nawab (Polyura jalysus jalysus) is a lot easier to be identified with confidence due to its broad greenish patches on the underside of both wings.
A common species in Chiangmai, this conspicuous Great Nawab (Polyura eudamippus nigrobasalis) is a permanent resident of Chiangdao. 
The Shan Nawab (Polyura nepenthes nepenthes) is another magnificent and common butterfly.
At one moment, the two Nawabs were side-by-side with their wings partially open.
With patience, I managed to snap their uppersides. So do you see the slight differences between these two species?
The Black Rajah (Charaxes solon sulphureus) was less common this time - it appeared only once at Chaingdao.
The predominant blue iridescence of the upper wings of the Constable (Dichorragia nesimachus) are quite unique.    
I noticed that the Indian Purple Emperor (Mimathyma ambica miranda) is abundant in certain months of the year in Chiangdao. A  medium size fast-flyer in the subfamily Apaturinae, this species was often sighted puddling on the moist ground.    
Both sexes look alike. The upper wings of the male present an intense blue iridescence when we photograph it at a certain angle.
Last shot for this post is another member of the Apaturinae subfamily - the Naga Emperor (Chitoria naga) an uncommon species in Thailand.
 I believed there were two different individuals at a high altitude in Chiangdao.

In my next post, I will share pictures of butterflies in the Satyrinae subfamily. 

In the mean time, wishing every reader of the blog a Merry Christmas and a Fruitful New Year ahead.


Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Butterflies of Northern Thailand Part 4 (Nymphalids)

Continues from previous post

Butterflies in the Nymphalidae family have four functional legs only as the first pair of forelegs is  reduced, usually covered with dense hairs and useless for walking or perching. There are many subfamilies in this largest and very diverse family of butterflies.

A male Courtesan (Euripus nyctelius nyctelius) was seen puddling  on a rocky surface at Doi Suthep on our very first day morning.
 With a bit of patience, I managed to get a shot of its upper side wings.
A very skittish Vagrant (Vagrans sinha sinha ) came down to puddle near where our car was parked along a roadside. Vagrant has the habit of flapping its wings constantly even when it is feeding on the something.   
  After many futile  attempts,  I managed to get a decent fully open-winged shot.
The Banded Dandy (Laringa horsfieldi glaucescens) was abundant in Chinag Mai and the male is a lot more common.
This species is a lot easier to shoot than the Vagrant. When it found the right spot, it could stay there for a long time.
My first shot of a female at Doi Suthep when she took a short nap at a shady spot.
I was stalking this extremely skittish and alert guy - the Neptis Ankara. It never stayed still on the ground, always scooting off to the canopy level we approached it closer.   With a great deal of patience, this is the only 'presentable' shot I could get. 
This orange butterfly, the Paral Lascar (Pantoporia paraka paraka ) looks quite similar to the above Sailor but it actually belongs to another genus but in the same subfamily Limenitidinae.
There were a few other Sailors at the same location in Doi Suthep. This is the Broad-banded Sailor (Neptis sankara guiltoides) taking a short break on a dry leaf.
I always went for an underside shot if possible.
These black-and-white nymphalids can be very confusing and difficult to identify them. This is the Sullied Brown Sailor (Neptis nata adipala ) found puddling at Chiangdao. 
This was my best attempt at shooting its undersides - very challenging as it kept moving and flapping its wings.   
It was quite difficult to identify a Neptis in the field with certainty. So I would usually take some shots when opportunities arose. Without much chasing,  this guy was shot and it turned out to be a  Neptis cartica.
It was more cooperative when I went down on the ground to snap a shot of its undersides.
It  looks like a Neptis but it belongs to another genus - the Studdded Sergeant (Athyma asura) - a series of white postdiscal polygonal spots on the upperside of the hind wings make it easier to identify this species.
A perch on a leaf shown by this Lance Sergeant (Athyma pravara indosinica) was my preferred composition for photo-taking. 
Lexias pardalis jadeitina was quite common in Doi Suthep. This male was found enjoying the moisture on a rock.
This is another Lexias species - a female L. dirtea toochaii with black antennal tip and subapical white bands on the forewing uppersides.
The Circle (Hestinalis nama nama) which mimics the Parantica sita belongs to the subfamily Apaturinae.
Very skittish and alert fellow, this guy changed its puddling spots very frequently on a late afternoon at Chiangdao. It took me a long time with great patience just to snap a few shots.
Cyrestinae is a small subfamily which includes the Maplet butterflies. These are usually slow and weak flyers.

This is  the Common Maplet (Chersonesia risa risa).
A look-alike, the Intermediate Maplet (Chersonesia intermedia intermedia)
To be continued.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Butterflies of Northern Thailand Part 3 (Riodinids)

Continues from  previous post

Butterflies in the Riodonidae family were classified as a subfamily of Lycaenidae previously. However, it has since been upgraded to the family level. Butterflies in this family are generally called Metalmarks.

Based on the book Butterflies of Thailand (2nd Edition) published  by Pisuth, there are 7 Dodona species in Thailand. We managed to shoot two of them in this trip.

The Lesser Punch (Dodona dipoea dracon) was found at  Mae Kampong. I noticed that the road leading to our first shooting site was full of cars and tourists this time.
The same specimen presented to me with a different perch. Other than this Punch, there were very few butterflies at our first shooting site. So this guy kept me busy for some time.
It was partially blocked by some leaves when it opened its wings for sunbathing.
The Orange Punch (Dodona egeon egeon) seemed to be quite common at Doi Suthep. This species appeared on two days when we were there.

Another specimen
An upperside shot of the Orange Punch - now I understand why the common name was Orange Punch. 
A very common species in Chiang Mai, the Dark Judy (Abisara fylla fylla) is rather large compared with other Judies. 
It had the tendency to open its wings partially when it perched -  a common hebaviour that quite a few other Abisara species show too.
 To be continued