View Full Version : A Cat among the Pigeons (an English Phrase)

Painted Jezebel
07-May-2007, 08:15 AM
I may be accidentally causing a bit of controversy here, but I think you may have got pictures of a new species for Singapore. The photos page for Troides helenus cerberus show 2 females. According to my books, the female T. helenus has the hindwing spots joined to the the marginal spots, whereas the female T. aeacus malaiianus has them separated. The photos show them separated. The male however is typical of T. helenus.

Willing to be corrected, as ever.

Delias Rule,OK

07-May-2007, 10:43 AM
Who's the cat and who's the pigeon? :thinking:

Feel free to offer your opinion, Les. At least it reinforces our group's conclusions on certain issues if we present different viewpoints and observations which others may not have spotted.

I am not too sure about the spots in T. helena. I've had quite a bit of experience breeding them, and it does appear that the spots vary quite a bit. The Malayan Birdwing (T. amphrysus)'s female has the more consistent conjoined hindwing spots. T. helena seem to vary (and sometimes even has missing spots!).

The Golden Birdwing (T. aeacus)'s dimunitive size is usually a giveaway, but according to C&P4, the distinguishing characteristic is the hindwing tornal spot with diffused black shading. This, T. helena does not have. The Malaysian ssp of T. aeacus is thomsonii which I have not yet seen in Singapore, nor has been recorded by the early authors.

Having said that, I am quite concerned too, about the imports that Sentosa Butterfly Park brings in from Indonesia and possibly Borneo. I've seen the Common Birdwings there, and they are perceivably different in terms of their markings on the forewing white streaks as well as the hindwing spots.

The sudden appearance of what seems to be the ssp. antiphus of the Common Rose also raises questions as to how Bornean subspecies could have appeared here. Hence the difference of opinion with NSS as to whether the ssp of the Leopard Lacewing is the Bornean cyane or the Thai euanthes. :thinking:

Anyway, keep observing, and there may be new findings right in front of our noses which we have not been able to see all this while.

Painted Jezebel
07-May-2007, 11:45 AM
Thanks Khew. I forgot my own advice that spots are not the most reliable way of ID'ing (previous post on an Amathusid), and completely forgotten about the black dusting.

I have T. helena (sorry about helenUS in first posting) and T aeacus as about the same size (between 100 -140mm wingspan), with T. amphrysus as much larger.

BTW, T. aeacus malaiianus and T.a.thomsoni are synonyms.

With regards to Cethosia cyane, was there a gradual appearance through Malaysia, as like Acraea violae, or did it appear suddenly. If the latter, it suggests an accidental introduction. (Parks need to be more responsible about their security. I think I have made my thoughts about this clear in the past).

Anywy, always willing to learn.

Delias Rule,OK

07-May-2007, 12:05 PM
The T. aeacus that I've seen in Malaysia, and have records thereof, are much smaller than any of the other Troides. It's also described as such in both C&P4 and Fleming2 (where average wingspans are given in the species' data)

Wasn't aware that malaiianus and thomsonii were synonymous. Learnt something new today. :thinking:

The Leopard Lacewings appeared quite suddenly, from records on the Malaysian side. Other that having reached Penang, I have not come across any other article that describes C. cyane's movements down south, although the postulation is very possible, as it shares the same host plant as A. violae. However, C. cyane is a popular species in Butterfly Farms here and abroad, and due to its prolific breeding, it could have been either one of the two subspecies appearing suddenly.

Hence I would not be so quick to eliminate ssp cyane as the one appearing in Singapore.

In any case, I have not been able to find anything documented on the differences between the two subspecies. Dr Kirton is not sure either, and in his update to C&P4 with the late Col Eliot, left the species as C. cyane even on the Malaysian front, until I suppose there are more detailed studies on the two subspecies to determine which one it is.

On another note, when we discovered the Ancyra Blue (Catopyrops ancyra), we also left it at the species level, as the Malaysian subspecies aberrans is quite rare. It was postulated that the one found in Singapore could somehow be the Philippines subspecies. Again, without any detailed scientific proof, we are not sure which subspecies it is.

Painted Jezebel
09-May-2007, 08:12 AM
Finally got hold of my Pinratana yesterday, and, yes, he says the T. aeacus ssp found in peninsular Thailand and Malaysia is much smaller. He also does not mention the spots as a means of ID either. He also calls it T.a. thomsoni. I do wish there was a central committee to decide what is the correct name, it is very confusing. thomsoni was named by Bates in 1875 and malaiianus by Fruhstorfer in 1902 so I guess we should use the former.

I now have my doubts as to whether I have seen T. helena or T. aeacus aeacus, as I had ID'd using the spots method. I will have to net and release to confirm.

It seems I will have to cross reference my two sources before making a firm ID for any sp/ssp I see in the future. The Ek-Amnuay is much easier to carry around with me but I am beginning to have my doubts about his identifying descriptions. Shame the Lycaenidae pics of Pinratana are so poor.

Delias Rule, OK