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Thread: I'm back/butterflies from recent Malaysia trips

  1. #1
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    Default I'm back/butterflies from recent Malaysia trips

    Hi everyone,

    back after a really long hiatus. Have been studying in Australia for several years now. Back in Singapore for a short break before I head back next month to continue my PhD. Made several small trips to Malaysia to photograph butterflies. My skills are a little rusty but here are some interesting species I found.

    I'll start with the ones from Gopeng. The weather this time of the year wasn't particularly good. A lot of intermittent rain throughout the day, and it was basically a huge cat and mouse game with the sun. I did manage to find some goodies though.



    I'll start with the usual fanfare of Gopeng delights! Rajah Brooke's Birdwing (Trogonoptera brookiana) were not out in the usual numbers, but even then the species is a guaranteed click for the camera. Here a nice male puddling at the usual seepage.



    I managed a semi-decent shot of a female nectaring on hibiscus growing along the road outside of villages. This was taken from inside a car.





    An icon of Gopeng, the Black Prince (Rohana parisatis) is another frequently encountered butterfly here. I'm always amazed at how intensely black fresh specimens are. It's like staring into VantaBlack (the darkest object in the world)!



    I only saw three dragontails this trip, and only one was pristine with a full set of tails. Photographing these were unusually difficult because of the tenuous sunlight. They would disappear almost immediately when the rays were blocked by clouds, descending only (and usually immediately) when the light broke through the sky. I snapped this quick one of a white dragontail (Lamproptera curius) in between passing showers.



    I was quite happy to encounter this Bassorona teuta, a species i've seen on numerous occasions, but one i've yet to photograph. The males of this handsome species patrol open forested paths with a very commanding and regal flight. It's hard not to notice.



    I seem to have a lot of luck this time round with freshly emerged butterflies (you'll see why in the later posts). This Horaga onyx fell from the sky like an ocherous confetti and landed on a parking lot. I moved it to a leaf for this shot.



    Common in Malaysia, but I rarely tire from chasing after Yellow Glassy Tigers (Parantica aspasia). This is my best shot of this otherwise common species.

  2. #2
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    Not a butterfly, but these Rhyothemis dragonflies were as good as any. It gave me something to chase when butterflies were scarce! These are R. fuliginosa and R. triangularis.




  3. #3
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    My best find this trip were the presence of several Evan's Tinsel (Catapaecilma evansi). I actually have to give credit to my brother for this one, who followed me on this trip. He knows very little about butterflies, but asked if I was interested in photographing a cycad blue (any small bluish lycaenid in flight is a cycad blue to him). I said no, but went to look at what the fuss was about anyway. When it landed, I couldn't believe.

    There were several females fluttering about a mangosteen tree right outside our lodge, feeding on the sap oozing from the leaf petioles. They would show up everyday, so I really took my time with these shots. Still..photographing these were hard, as they would often turn about their axis, or land on the midrib of the deeply invaginated mangosteen leaves. Nightmare.

  4. #4
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    Here are more common butterflies that I shot around the lodge.



    The Bamboo Tree Brown (Lethe europa). This one seem to have suffered an injury on its thorax. It couldn't fly very well, or very far either.



    The Blue Pansy (Junonia orythia). My favorite of ALL the oriental pansies (yes, even superior to me than the Yellow Pansy). I find the blue and black wings, white antennae, and striking eye spots incomparable. Common too!



    The less beautiful, and equally (if not more) common Peacock Pansy (Junonia almana).



    I find it ironic how almost all my shots of the Striped Albatross (Appias libythea) have been taken from Malaysia.



    A nice and fresh Common Mormon (Papilio polytes) resting in the evening.





    The Magpie Crow (Euploea rhadamanthus). I saw several males and females this trip. A nice species, and one that's quite scarce now in Singapore. The mating pair was taken on another trip in Langkawi, but I wanted to illustrate the striking dichromatism between sexes.

  5. #5
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    I know not butterflies, but these day flying moths are just as pretty, and more butterfly acting than many butterflies!





    I saw several this trip. Here's Dysphania militaris.





    This one's D. subrepleta. The second photo showing it puddling alongside D. militaris.





    The two grey species I saw that were fairly good mimics of Parantica were D. malayanus (above), and D. transducta (below).

  6. #6
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    I also made a short trip up to Panti. While the diversity wasn't as good. I managed to find some really good ones. I'll start with the usual stuff.





    Panti is great for getting photos of all the Terinos species. I managed to get some improvement shots of the Large Assyrian (Terinos atlita) on this trip.



    I saw (but didn't photograph) Choaspes subcaudatus again. But here's an old photo from a previous trip.



    This Simiskina paediada was freshly eclosed, and fell from the tree above. It allowed plenty of opportunities to get shots from all angles. I particularly like this one, with that green gradient serving as the backdrop. I'm fairly sure this is S. paediada and not S. phalena, but Dr. Seow if you could confirm that would be great.



    I found two female Cardinals (Thamala marciana)egg laying on a short jungle plant. I managed a couple of photos when it took breaks between ovipositing runs. Here's my best shot. I've seen the males of this species previously, but this is my first time with the females.



    Another freshly eclosed butterfly! This one is the Brown Yam (Drina donina). It's wings were still so soft that the forewings were drooping a little, and there's a sheer layer of scale covering it. It took off after several shots, rather clumsily, to a tall tree.



    There were 4-5 of these White Imperials (Neomyrina nivea) chasing each other along an exposed hill. For this I had to walk off track into a logging trail where a clearing was awaiting me at the end. They are exceptionally hard to photograph, preferring to keep to the canopy, and almost always perching under leaves. I got lucky when one came down briefly.



    Always nice to see, the Common Red Harlequin (Paralaxita telesia).

  7. #7
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    I'll end things off with this rather miserable looking Wanderer (Pareronia anais).

  8. #8
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    You've got a nice variety of lycaenids!
    Aaron Soh

  9. #9
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