Thursday, 16 July 2015

4. Stichophthalma suffusa tonkiniana (The Jungle Queen s.l.)

Number: 4
Family: Nymphaliidae
Sub-Family: Amathusiinae
Species: Stichophthalma suffusa tonkiniana Leech, 1892
Common name(s): The Jungle Queen (sensu lato)
Photography location: Tam Dao (Vinh Phuc Prov.)

According to Monastyrskii & Devyatkin (2016), the subfamily Amathusiinae is represented in Vietnam by 10 genera: Faunis (5 species), Aemona (7 species), Stichophtalma (8 species), Amathusia (1 species), Amathuxidia (1 species), Zeuxidia (2 species), Thaumantis (1 species), Thauria (1 species), Discophora (4 species), Enispe (3 species).

Stichophthalma howqua suffusa has been raised to species S. suffusa Leech, 1892 (Monastyrskii & Devyatkin, 2008). S. suffusa tonkiniana has an ocre-yellow ground color on the Up of both wings with completely fused submarginal black markings on the UpH.
At Tam Dao, in northern Vietnam, this species occupies both primary and secondary forest habitats, at all elevations.

Stichophthalma suffusa tonkiniana feeding on rotten fruits (rocks along a stream, Tam Dao, 200m asl) This specimen was at a well-lighted place, a rare opportunity to take photo without flash
This specimen is very likely a female (Un with whitish discal band, located behind the subbasal area which is margined by black zigzag lines)

Another specimen, resting on leaf in dense forest (Tam Dao, 900m asl), showing faint ocelli
Very likely a male (Un with brownish orange tinge, discal band pale brown)

This is a cryptic species, with underwings resembling dead leaves. When resting on vegetation, Stichophthalma species close their wings. When flying, they slowly glide in a zigzag course within the dark vegetation, resembling falling leaves. Never seen visiting flowers. The only observed source of food was tree sap, rotting fruits and birds droppings.

Some specimens feeding on tree sap (Tam Dao, mid-June 2016)

Side by side with a nice Scarab Beetle and a female Stibochiona nicea

 Three individuals feeding on a bone covered with mold (Tam Dao, 27th May 2016)

Note the completely fused submarginal black markings on the UpH

Sticholphthalma taxa recorded in Vietnam (after Monastyrskii  & Devyatkin, 2016) :

1- S. suffusa tonkiniana Fruhstorfer, 1901 – N.
2- S. howqua iapetus Brooks, 1949 – N. (Lao Cai: Hoang Lien N.P.)

3- S. fruhstorferi Röber, 1903 – N., C.
4- S. uemurai uemurai Nishimura, 1998 – C. (Lam Dong, Khanh Hoa, Dak Lak)
5- S. uemurai gialai Monastyrskii  & Devyatkin, 2000 – C. (Gia Lai)
6- S. neumogeni regulus Brooks, 1949 – N. (Lao Cai: Hoang Lien N.P.)

7- S. mathilda Janet, 1905 – N., C. (to Ha Tinh)
8- S. eamesi Monastyrskii, Devyatkin & Uémura, 2000 – C. (Quang Binh to Gia Lai)
9- S. devyatkini Monastyrskii, 2013 – C. (TL: Khanh Hoa: Hon Ba N.R.)

At Tam Dao, S. suffusa tonkiniana and S. fruhstorferi occur sympatrically from June to September.

For key to the Vietnamese species of the genus Sticholphthalma, see "Butterflies of Vietnam, Vol. 3: Nymphalidae: Danainae, Amathusiinae" (A.L. Monastyrskii, 2011)

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