Saturday, August 17, 2013

Ant-loving Lycaenids @ Ulu Sembawang Park Connector

My first outing after I returned from a vacation in Kyoto was on a cloudy Saturday morning (29 June). Perhaps due to the severe haze Singapore has experienced from 19-22 June, I could use the word "deserted" to describe the state of the wild life along Ulu Sembawang Park Connector where I wandered around for about two hours.    

A small lycaenid was fluttering continuously and erratically for a long time. As there was nothing else for me to shoot at one corner of a trail, I waited patiently for it to settle down. Yes, this marble-winged lycaenid, considered "ugly" by some people is the Pale Mottle (Logania marmorata damis).  
To me, this is a rare shot with a planthopper on the same twig. The larvae of the Pale Mottled are known to have a mutualistic relationship with ants - the myrmecophilous interaction explains why I usually found the adult had a tendency to accompany with ants. True enough, the ants were in fact nearby. 
When I was about to call it a day, I sighted another ant-loving lycaenid - The Bigg's Brownie (Miletus biggsii biggsii). But where were the ants ?
Another specimen was found mingling with the ants on a twig.
What a disappointing day in terms of butterfly sighting - in fact from my outings in the subsequent weeks, I could tell that the number of butterflies in the fields had dwindled beyond my imagination.      

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