Wednesday, 7 December 2016

227. Neorina patria westwoodii (The White Owl)

Number: 227
Family: Nymphaliidae
Sub-Family: Satyriinae
Species: Neorina patria westwoodii Moore, [1891]
Common name(s): The White Owl
Photography location: Tam Dao (Vinh Phuc Prov.)

Neorina patria is a large species of satyrine butterfly found in India (Assam), Burma, Thailand, Laos, China and Vietnam. 
In Vietnam, this montane species is recorded in the north and center of the country (to Ha Tinh Prov.) (Monastyrskii  & Devyatkin, 2016).

Neorina patria westwoodii - Tam Dao, 16th November 2016 (900m asl)

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

226. Lethe verma stenopa (The Straight-banded Treebrown)

Family: Nymphaliidae
Sub-Family: Satyriinae
Species: Lethe verma stenopa Fruhstorfer, 1908
Common name(s): The Straight-banded Treebrown
Photography location: Tam Dao (Vinh Phuc Prov.)

This is my 8th Lethe species seen in Vietnam... but 39 are listed in "Butterflies of Vietnam, an illustrated checklist" (Monastyrskii  & Devyatkin, 2016)... arghhh !!!

Lethe verma stenopa, Tam Dao, 25th August 2016
L. confusa and L. verma are very similar but the latter show HW weakly toothed at vein 4 (making the HW appear more rounded), HW subbasal whitish line zigzag, not as straight as that of confusa

225. Lethe mekara crijnana (The Common Red Forester)

Number: 225
Family: Nymphaliidae
Sub-Family: Satyriinae
Species: Lethe mekara crijnana Fruhstorfer, 1911
Common name(s): The Common Red Forester
Photography location: foothills of Tam Dao (Vinh Phuc Prov.) and Ba Vi (Hanoi)

I only managed some poor record shots (heavily cropped) for now... until the next time we meet!

Female (left) from Tam Dao, Sept. 2016 / Male (right) from Ba Vi, Dec. 2016
                                    In male, FW without subapical white bar beyond the cell

Monday, 5 December 2016

224. Lethe europa niladana (The Bamboo Treebrown)

Number: 224
Family: Nymphaliidae
Sub-Family: Satyriinae
Species: Lethe europa niladana Fruhstorfer, 1911
Common name(s): The Bamboo Treebrown
Photography location: Ba Vi N.P. (Hanoi)

Well, after a number of years of searching but having little knowledge of the species, I finally clapped eyes on it: Lethe europa. I only managed a record shot (heavily cropped) as it was just too far out of reach. Still, I know where it is now and will search for it again next year (it is right at the end of its flight season now). It was worth all the effort - it really is a beautiful thing. For a naturalist, the most wonderful feeling is spotting a new species for the first time. I want to do cartwheels and backflips when I see something new. 

Northern Vietnam is a site of particularly high level of diversity for this genus, hosting over 80% of the known number of species (Monastyskii pp.32. in Anon, 2001).

In Greek mythology, Lethe, the river of forgetfulness, was one of the five rivers of the underworld, the other four being Styx (the river of hate), Acheron (the river of sorrow), Cocytus (the river of lamentation) and Phlegethon (the river of fire).

Male Lethe europa niladana, lower slopes of Mount Ba Vi, 4th December 2016
Female is similar but with broader oblique white band on FW

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

223. Euthalia lubentina lubentina (The Common Gaudy Baron)

Number: 223
Family: Nymphaliidae
Sub-Family: Limenitidiinae
Species: Euthalia lubentina lubentina (Cramer, [1777])
Common name(s): The Common Gaudy Baron
Photography location: foothills of Ba Vi N.P. (Hanoi)

Female Euthalia lubentina lubentina, lower slopes of Mount Ba Vi, 28th November 2016 
In male, white patches are reduced to small spots

What a splendid fellow - God is the greatest artist! I love particularly the red patches surrounded by black lines.
Photo taken with natural light

A glimpse of the underwings pattern of the same individual, feeding on over-ripe fig

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

222. Jamides alecto alocina (The Metallic Caerulean)

Number: 222
Family: Lycaeniidae
Sub-Family: Polyommatiinae
Species: Jamides alecto alocina Swinhoe, 1915
Common name(s): The Metallic Caerulean
Photography location: Tam Dao N.P. (Vinh Phuc Prov.)

According to Monastyrskii  & Devyatkin (2016), 7 Jamides species have been recorded in Vietnam: alecto, celeno, caeruleus, virgulatus, elpis, pura & bochus.

J. alecto is my third Jamides species found around Hanoi. It belongs to the elpis subgroup, which is characterised by the forewing postdiscal band being dislocated at vein 4.

Jamides alecto, Tam Dao, July 2016

A glimpse of the milky white tinged with pale lavender-blue upper surface of the same specimen

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

221. Taraka hamada mendesia (The Forest Pierrot)

Number: 221
Family: Lycaeniidae
Sub-Family: Miletiinae
Species: Taraka hamada mendesia Fruhstorfer, 1918
Common name(s): The Forest Pierrot
Photography location: Tam Dao (Vinh Phuc Prov.)

Taraka hamada is an aphidophagous lycaenid butterfly occuring from India to Japan. Widespread, but not common.

It looks similar to the Common Pierrot (Castalius rosimon) at first glance but you would notice that the spotting pattern is quite different in detail. And notice the unusually fluffy legs. The thing that makes the species special is its carnivorous habits: the caterpillars don't eat plants like most butterfly caterpillars, they feed on scale insects and aphids. 

Taraka hamada mendesia, Tam Dao (900m asl), bamboo forest, 16th Sept. 2016

220. Matapa aria/druna

Number: 220
Family: Hesperiidae
Sub-Family : Hesperiinae
Species: Matapa aria or M. druna
Common name(s): 
Photography location: Foothills of Tam Dao (Vinh Phuc Prov.)

According to Monastyrskii  & Devyatkin (2016), 4 species of Matapa are recorded from Vietnam: cresta, aria, druna and sasivarna.
M. druna can be easily confused with M. aria, but the male of the former has a large & curved grey brand whereas it is narrow in aria
From the shot below, I am unable to come to a firm identification.

Matapa aria/druna, lower slopes of Tam Dao, 18th Sept. 2016
Despite low-light conditions, this photo was taken without a flash in order not to alter the color of the subject.

219. Gerosis sinica narada (The White Yellow-breasted Flat)

Number: 219
Family: Hesperiidae
Sub-Family : Pyrgiinae
Species: Gerosis sinica narada (Moore,1884)
Common name(s):The White Yellow-breasted Flat
Photography location: Tam Dao (Vinh Phuc Prov.)

According to Monastyrskii  & Devyatkin (2016), 5 species of Gerosis are known from Vietnam: G. sinica narada, G. phisara phisara, G. bhagava bhagava, G. limax dirae, G. tristis gaudialis. Only sinica and phisara are recorded from the North of the country.
Gerosis sinica narada ranges from Sikkim to Myanmar, N.Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, China.

Strolling slowly and enjoying the morning breeze without taking any shot for close to an hour, I finally spotted this Gerosis sinica narada resting beneath a leaf above my head. It was tame but not the kind of perch any photographer would like to shoot. Tam Dao (900m asl), 16th Sept. 2016

Thursday, 18 August 2016

218. Baoris farri (The Bamboo Paintbrush Swift)

Number: 218
Family: Hesperiidae
Sub-Family : Hesperiinae
Species: Baoris farri (Moore, 1878)
Common name(s): The Bamboo Paintbrush Swif
Photography location: Foothills of Tam Dao (Vinh Phuc Prov.)

Four species of Baoris are recorded from Vietnam: B. farri, B. oceia, B. penicillata, B. pagana.

Baoris farri sunbathing on leaves. Note the spotless hindwing.
This quite large skipper is recorded throughout the country.

The forewing has hyaline spots in spaces 2-4, 6-8 and 2 cell spots. The female is usually fully spotted and has an additional non-hyaline spot in space 1b on the forewing (visible in this shot). The hindwing does not bear any spot, but the male has a black hair tuft in the cell on top of a scent pouch (hence "Paintbrush" in its common name). 

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

217. Coladenia agni sundae/agnioides

Number: 217
Family: Hesperiidae
Sub-Family : Pyrgiinae
Species: Coladenia agni sundae or C. agnioides
Common name(s):
Photography location: Foothills of Tam Dao (Vinh Phuc Prov.)

According to Monastyrskii  & Devyatkin (2016), 6 species of Coladenia are recorded from Vietnam: C. tanya, C. agni sundae, C. indrani uposathra, C. agnioides, C. laxmi sobrina, C. koiwayai (=C. fenestrata).

According to A. Monastyrskii (pers. comm.), C. agnioides is similar to C. agni sundae, but the male has a conspicuous white dot outward the central brand in the space 1b of the underside of the forewing. My specimen is a female therefore it is difficult to make a conclusion.

Female nectaring on Blue Porterweed (Stachytarpheta jamaicensis) - Tam Dao, mid-August 2016.

Same individual, view of the underside pattern.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

216. Celaenorrhinus asmara consertus (The White-banded Flat)

Number: 216
Family: Hesperiidae
Sub-Family : Pyrgiinae
Species: Celaenorrhinus asmara consertus de Nicéville, 1890
Common name(s): The White-banded Flat
Photography location: Tam Dao National Park (Vinh Phuc Prov.)

Celaenorrhinus asmara consertus on Blue Porterweed (Stachytarpheta jamaicensis) - an extremely popular nectar source for a wide variety of butterflies. This plant, which belongs to the Verbenaceae family, is native from tropical America and naturalized throughout tropics.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

215. Neptis harita harita (The Dingiest Sailor)

Number: 215
Family: Nymphaliidae
Sub-Family: Limenitidiinae
Species: Neptis harita harita Moore, 1875
Common name(s): The Dingiest Sailor
Photography location : Xuan Son National Park (Phu Tho Prov.)

21 species - and 30 taxons - of Neptis have been recorded in Vietnam. This is a difficult genus with many very similar-looking species. Among the chocolate brown Neptis, N. harita is the commonest - recorded throughout the country.

Upperside smoky chocolate brown  with paler brown markings. Note the crescent-shaped spot in space 2 of FW, the hindwing band divided & chain-like.
Other similar-looking species include N. ilira cindia (recorded from C. Vietnam), N. pseudovikasi (N. Vietnam: Lao Cai), N. omeroda (not recorded in Vietnam).

214. Dophla evelina annamita (The Redspot Duke)

Number: 214
Family: Nymphaliidae
Sub-Family: Limenitidiinae
Species: Dophla evelina annamita (Moore,1879)
Common name(s): The Redspot Duke
Photography location: Foothills of Tam Dao (Vinh Phuc Prov.)

Both sexes are drab coloured by with some bright red spots.

213. Bassarona teuta teuta (Doubleday, 1848)

Number: 213
Family: Nymphaliidae
Sub-Family: Limenitidiinae
Species: Bassarona teuta teuta (Doubleday, 1848)
Common name(s): The Banded Marquis 
Photography location: Xuan Son National Park (Phu Tho Prov.)

This species is placed by some authors in the genus Euthalia.

Female Bassarona teuta teuta from Xuan Son N.P., on July 30, 2016.
Male is smaller and with darker background color.

Saturday, 6 August 2016

212. Cigaritis syama latipicta (The Club Silverline)

Number: 212
Family: Lycaeniidae
Sub-Family: Thecliinae
Species: Cigaritis syama latipicta (Fruhstorfer, [1912])
Common name(s): The Club Silverline
Photography location: Foothills of Tam Dao (Vinh Phuc Prov.)

Eight species of Cigaritis are known from Vietnam: C. lohita (2 subsp.), C. syama (2 subsp.), C. seliga, C. vulcanus, C. vixinga, C. gigas, C. leechi, C. evansii. In Tonkin (North of the country), lohita and syama are the most frequently encountered.
Cigaritis syama latipicta is replaced further south by C. syama peguanus.

Cigaritis syama latipicta, Tam Dao, mid-June 2016

211. Loxura atymnus continentalis (The Yamfly)

Number: 211
Family: Lycaeniidae
Sub-Family: Thecliinae
Species: Loxura atymnus continentalis Fruhstorfer, [1912]
Common name(s): The Yamfly
Photography location: Cat Ba N.P. (Hai Phong City)

Genus Loxura is reddish-orange on Up, HW with a long white-tipped tail at vein 2, tornus in space 1a slightly produced to a round lobe.

Friday, 5 August 2016

210. Ancema ctesia ctesia (The Bi-spot Royal)

Number: 210
Family: Lycaeniidae
Sub-family:  Thecliinae
Species: Ancema ctesia ctesia (Hewitson, [1865])
Common name(s): The Bi-spot Royal
Photography location: Xuan Son National Park (Phu Tho Prov.)

Recorded from Nepal, N. India, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Malay Pen. (China?).
In Vietnam, known from few localities in the N. (Lao Cai: Hoang Lien N.P., Phu Tho: Tam Dao N.P.) and C. (Nghe An: Pu Mat N.R.). And now, from Xuan Son N.P. also.

209. Hestinalis nama nama (The Circe)

Number: 209
Family: Nymphaliidae
Sub-Family: Apaturiinae
Species: Hestinalis nama nama (Doubleday,1845)
Common name(s): The Circe
Photography location: Xuan Son National Park (Phu Tho Prov.)

Recorded from Nepal to Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, N. & C. Vietnam, S. China. This species mimics Danaids especially Parantica sita and P. melaeneus, but differs in having submarginal lunules on both wings. 

Thursday, 4 August 2016

208. Euripus nyctelius mastor (The Courtesan)

Number: 208
Family: Nymphaliidae
Sub-Family : Apaturiinae
Species: Euripus nyctelius mastor Fruhstorfer, 1903
Common name(s): The Courtesan
Photography location: Xuan Son National Park (Phu Tho Prov.)

A male Courtesan, showing bluish black upperwings with series of white spots/streaks on both wings. Female are larger and polymorphic - mimic the distasteful Euploea species (Batesian mimicry). The eyes of both sexes are yellow but those of the female are darker with varying degrees of brown shading.

207. Celaenorrhinus aspersa (The Large Streaked Flat)

Number: 207
Family: Hesperiidae
Sub-Family : Pyrgiinae
Species: Celaenorrhinus aspersa Leech,1891
Common name(s): The Large Streaked Flat
Photography location: Tam Dao National Park (Vinh Phuc Prov.)

This species is recorded from Assam, N. Myanmar, N. Thailand, N. & C. Vietnam, Hainan, China.

Celaenorrhinus aspersa (at least the specimen on the left, the other one I am not sure) feeding on flower nectar
(21th June 2016, summit of Tam Dao/alt.1200m asl).

A very handsome little chap.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

206. Pithauria stramineipennis stramineipennis (The Light Straw Ace)

Number: 206
Family: Hesperiidae
Sub-Family : Hesperiinae
Species: Pithauria stramineipennis stramineipennis Wood-Mason & de Niceville, [1887]
Common name(s): The Light Straw Ace
Photography location : Foothills of Tam Dao (Vinh phuc Prov.)

This large-sized Hesperid is known to occur from Sikkim to Hainan and south to Sumatra.
Four species of Pithauria are recorded from Vietnam: stramineipennis, linus, murdava and marsena.

A view of its uppersides showing the cream suffusion on the base of the forewings.

205. Thoressa monastyrskyi monastyrskyi (The Monastyrsky's Ace)

Number: 205
Family: Hesperiidae
Sub-Family : Hesperiinae
Species: Thoressa monastyrskyi monastyrskyi Devyatkin, 1996
Common name(s): The Monastyrsky's Ace
Photography location : Tam Dao National Park (Vinh phuc Prov.)

Thoressa monastyrskyi monastyrskyi is known, at least, from southern China and northern Vietnam. It is replaced further south by T. monastyrskyi annamita Devyatkin & Monastyrskyii, 1999.
All the photos below are from the type locality - Tam Dao (June 2016, alt. 900m asl).

This Thoressa monastyrskyi was feeding on some Bidens flowers along the "Water tank trail".

204. Seseria sambara indosinica (The Indochinese White Flat)

Number: 204
Family: Hesperiidae
Sub-Family : Pyrgiinae
Species: Seseria sambara indosinica (Fruhstorfer,1909)
Common name(s): The Indochinese White Flat
Photography location: Xuan Son National Park (Phu Tho Prov.)

Strictly restricted to undisturbed forests where it can be seen puddling on moist sunny spots.
Type locality: "Chiem-Hoa", central Tonkin.

203. Badamia exclamationis (The Brown Awl)

Number: 203
Family: Hesperiidae
Sub-Family: Coeliadinae
Species: Badamia exclamationis Fabricius, 1775
Common name(s): The Brown Awl, The Narrow-winged Awl
Photography location: Xuan Son National Park (Phu Tho Prov.)

Only two species make up this genus, one restricted to a number of Pacific islands, the other very  widely distributed, from Pakistan to the Pacific islands and SE Australia.

Badamia exclamationis is readily distinguished from other awls by the elongate fore wing and shape of the hind wing which has a recurve along the margin near the tornus.

UpF dark brown with three pale yellow central spots. UpH with a dark-brown tornal patch and a pale yellow subtornal spot. Underside of both wings grey-brown. The large abdomen is characterized by black and yellow banding.

The range extends from India, China and the Philippines, through Indonesia to mainland New Guinea and adjacent islands, northern and eastern Australia, the Salomon Islands, New Caledonia and Fiji. Badamia exclamationis is known to migrate in vast flights. Locally the species can be so numerous that its food plants (Terminalia) are completely defoliated (Common and Waterhouse, 1981).

This crepuscular Hesperid flies actively early in the morning and late in the evening, whereas it usually pitches under a leaf and is loath to move during the daytime. Hopefully, one day, I will get a better shot.

Monday, 1 August 2016

202. Celaenorrhinus vietnamicus (The Vietnamese Dark Yellow-banded Flat)

Number: 202
Family: Hesperiidae
Sub-Family : Pyrgiinae
Species: Celaenorrhinus vietnamicus Devyatkin,1998
Common name(s): The Vietnamese Dark Yellow-banded Flat
Photography location: Xuan Son National Park (Phu Tho Prov.)

Celaenorrhinus is one of the largest genera of the Hesperiidae and the only pantropical one, with about 130 species. 24 of these are found in the Neotropical region, 50 are found in various parts of eastern Asia, and 45 are Afrotropical in distribution. In Vietnam, 18 species are recorded.

Celaenorrhinus vietnamicus is closely related to C. aurivittata aurivittata (Moore, 1879) and differs externally in darker ground colour, lighter yellow forewing band, without any trace of orange, and detached apical spot in space 6 (Devyatkin, 1998). Recorded from southern China to central Vietnam. Holotype from northern Vietnam (Ba Vi National Park).

Adults roost upside down under leaves...

... and feed on flower nectar.