Monday, 15 February 2016

162. Lamproptera meges (The Green Dragontail)

Number: 162
Family: Papilioniidae
Sub-Family: Papilioniinae
Species: Lamproptera meges Zincken, 1831
Common name(s): The Green Dragontail
Photography location: Cuc Phuong N.P. (Ninh Binh Prov.)

In flight it can hardly be recognized as a butterfly; when circling low looking for a drinking spot they look like dragonflies. 

Hundreds of Lamproptera species (mostly meges) demonstrating selectively gregarious behavior when mud-puddling along a dirt road in Xuan Son NP
I was amazed to see so many butterflies packed into such a small area

Lamproptera species tend to puddle separately from aggregations of other species. Lamproptera meges is usually by far the commoner of the two species where both occur together

Lamproptera meges
There are several key features that can help naturalists confidently separate the different species of Lamproptera - see L. curius's post

Lamproptera meges

Lamproptera meges

Lamproptera meges

Lamproptera meges mudpuddling with Graphium doson (Common Jay) and Graphium eurypylus (Great Jay / half-hidden)

161. Lamproptera curius (The White Dragontail)

Number: 161
Family: Papilioniidae
Sub-Family: Papilioniinae
Species: Lamproptera curius Fabricius, 1787
Common name(s): The White Dragontail
Photography location: Cuc Phuong N.P. (Ninh Binh Prov.), Tam Dao (Vinh Phuc Prov.)

Males of species of Lamproptera frequent open riverbanks in forests. They tend to puddle separately from aggregations of other species, often being found on sand nearby rather than in a multi-species group. They look like dragonflies when flying along a stream bed, and can easily be overlooked by an observer unless they alight on the bank.

 Lamproptera curius

Lamproptera meges can be distinguished from curius by the forewing discal band, green in meges and white in curius. They can also be separated by examining the dark band outside this paler discal band. In meges the green band is contiguous with the dark band across the whole forewing, whereas in curius there is a narrow transparent band separating the white and dark bands below the forewing cell.

The two species of Lamproptera also have other characters to separate them, particularly the white androconial scales in the anal margin of the hindwing of the male of curius, which are absent in meges, and the green scales at the tip of the antennae of meges, absent in curius.
The larval foodplants of both species of Lamproptera are species of Illigera (Hernandiaceae).

Until recently, only two species of  Lamproptera were known. But in 2014, a new species has been described from northern Yunnan, China : L. paracurius.

Key to species of Lamproptera based on external characters (from Hu, Zhang, Cotton & Ye, 2014):

1     Forewing inner discal band white; a hyaline band at least 1 mm wide between the black and white bands . . . . 2
-      Forewing inner discal band pale green (or with a blue hue, colour more vivid when alive); no obvious hyaline band between the black and pale green bands . . . . . . . . . . . . 
. . .. . . . . . .  . . . .  . .   L. meges

2      Forewing black marginal band edged proximally with white. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . L. paracurius
-       Forewing black marginal band not edged proximally with white. . . . . . . . . . . .  . .L. curius

The range of Lamproptera curius is from India, east to China, south through Indochina and Malay Peninsula, Sumatra and Borneo and Palawan island. White Dragontail is the smallest swallowtail butterfly in the whole Papilionidae family. 

Lamproptera curius

Lamproptera curius

Lamproptera curius feeding on Bidens flowers

Thursday, 4 February 2016

160. Heliophorus epicles latilimbata (The Common Purple Sapphire)

Number: 160
Family: Lycaeniidae
Sub-Family: Lycaeniinae
Species: Heliophorus epicles latilimbata (Fruhstorfer, 1908)
Common name(s): The Common Purple Sapphire
Photography locations: Ba Vi foothills (Hanoi)

Monastyrskii & Devyatkin (2016) listed 8 Heliophorus species in Vietnam viz. kohimensis, delacouri, ila, epicles, indicus, smaragdinus, brahma and eventa.

Heliophorus epicles ranges from N.India to Indonesia. The subspecies latilimbata is known from Nepal, N.India, Bhutan, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam (N. & C.), S.China, Peninsular Malaysia.

A worn male Heliophorus epicles, Ba Vi (December 2016)
Purple area occupying less than 2/3 of FW (much more 2/3 in H. delacouri), FW with an obscure orange subapical patch beyond the cell (not always present)

159. Discophora sondaica (The Common Duffer)

Number: 159
Family: Nymphaliidae
Sub-Family: Amathusiinae
Species: Discophora sondaica Boisduval, 1836
Common name(s): The Common Duffer
Photography locations: Tam Dao foothills (Vinh Phuc Prov.), Xuan Son N.P. (Phu Tho 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).

Discophora species currently known in Vietnam: sondaica, deo, timora and aestheta - the last one described in 2003 from S.Vietnam, Dong Nai Prov., Cat Tien National Park.

Discophora sondaica puddling on a damp stream bed (Xuan Son N.P., August 2016)

Another specimen, puddling in a dry stream bed (Tam Dao foothills, November 2016)

A third one, from Tam Dao also (July 2016), feasting on rotten fruit

 Female Discophora sondaica, upperside (voucher specimen from Tam Dao)

Female has an upperside of purplish brown. Fore wing with three transverse series of white spots, the inner or discal series continued to the costa by two large elongate obliquely-placed white spots. Hind wing also with three transverse rows of somewhat obscure spots, but ochraceous in colour.
Similar colour pattern in male, but all series of spots are less prominent.

 Female Discophora sondaica, underside

158. Junonia orithya ocyale (The Blue Pansy)

Number: 158
Family: Nymphaliidae
Sub-Family: Nymphaliinae
Species: Junonia orithya (Hubner, [1822])
Common name(s): The Blue Pansy
Photography location: Tam Dao foothills (Vinh Phuc Prov.)

The genus Junonia comprises about 33 species, of which 11 occur in the Oriental region. Of these, 6 are found in Vietnam - iphita, atlites, orithya, hierta, almana and lemonias.

Junonia orithya is typical of the genus, being brightly marked with blue and orange, and possessing prominent ocelli. It is a fairly common species, although never as abundant as iphita, almana or atlites. The butterfly is found in sub-Saharan Africa, Arabia, and over most of the Oriental and Australian regions. Both sexes are similar in colour and pattern, but the male has more extensive areas of blue, and smaller ocelli on the hindwings.
This species, like most others in the genus, is found mainly in open scrub and grassland habitats. I haven't managed to photograph one yet.

 Male Junonia orithya, upperside view

Male Junonia orithya, underside view

157. Amblypodia cf. anita (The Purple Leafblue)

Number: 157
Family: Lycaeniidae
Sub-Family:  Thecliinae
Species: Amblypodia cf. anita
Common name(s):  The Purple Leafblue
Photography location: Tam Dao foothills (Vinh Phuc Prov.)

Apparently the specimen below belong to A. anita. But to ensure the correct determination, it is necessary to examine genitalia.

156. Troides aeacus (The Golden Birdwing)

Number: 156
Family: Papilioniidae
Sub-Family: Papilioniinae
Species: Troides aeacus (C. & R. Felder, 1860)
Common name(s): The Golden Birdwing
Photography location: Tam Dao foothills (Vinh Phuc Prov.)

This is the commoner species of Troides, occurring throughout the country in a wide variety of habitats and altitudes, even being present in towns. 
This species can easily be distinguished from Troides helena in the male by the more acute anal angle of the hindwing, and the peppering of black scales at the edge of the golden yellow discal patch near the anal angle, which is not found in helena
The females can be separated by examining the black markings at the base of the hindwing. In aeacus this extends into the hindwing below the cell, whereas in helena it fills space 7 but does not enter space 1 below the cell. The female of aeacus also has a yellow discal spot in space 7 of the hindwing, which is absent in helena.
Below some shots of a female caught in July 2015 at Tam Dao (Tây Thiên). I haven't took photo of male yet.

 Female Troides aeacus

Same individual in hand, close-up on underside HW
Note the yellow discal spot in space 7 (absent in helena) and the black coloration in space 1 below the cell (yellow in helena).

Underside HW of female helena, for comparison.

155. Appias indra indra (The Plain Puffin)

Number: 155
Family: Pieriidae
Sub-Family: Pieriinae
Species: Appias indra indra (Moore, [1858])
Common name(s):  The Plain Puffin
Photography locations: Xuân Son N.P. (Phu Tho Prov.), Cuc Phuong (Ninh Binh Prov.)

A male Appias indra (at the bottom right) with Appias albina (Common Albatross), Appias galba (Indian Orange Albatross), Cepora nadina (The Lesser Gull) - Xuan Son, June 2014

Male Appias indra 

 Male Appias indra puddling with some Cepora nerissa (The Common Gull) - Cuc Phuong, May 2016

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

154. Graphium chironides chironides (The Veined Jay)

Number: 154
Family: Papilioniidae
Sub-Family: Papilioniinae
Species: Graphium chironides (Honrath, 1884)
Common name(s): The Veined Jay
Photography location: Xuân Son N.P. (Phu Tho Prov.)

Monastyrskii & Devyatkin (2016) listed 20 Graphium species recorded in Vietnam viz. cloanthus, sarpedon, doson, evemon, eurypylus, chironides, leechi, arycles, agamemnon, phidias, macareus, megarus, xenocles, agetes, antiphates, aristeus, nomius, mullah, mandarinus, eurous.

Graphium chironides ranges from Nepal to Malaysia. It is a pretty Papilionid that is often seen mud-puddling with other Bluebottles and Jays.

A nice variety of puddling butterflies at Xuan Son National Park in June 2014
1 Graphium antiphates (Fivebar Swordtail), 2 Papilio nephelus chaon (Yellow Helen), 3 Papilio protenor euprotenor (Spangle), 4 Hebomoia glaucippe (Great Orange Tip), 5 Appias galba (Indian Orange Albatross), 6 Vindula erota (Common Cruiser), 7 Cepora nadina (Lesser Gull), 8 Prioneris thestylis (Spotted Sawtooth), 9 Appias lyncida (Chocolate Albatross), 10 Graphium sarpedon (Common Bluebottle), 11 Graphium cf. eurypylus (Great Jay), 12 Graphium chironides (Veined Jay), 13 Papilio memnon (Great Mormon)

 If you look closely at this image you can see 5 Graphium species (1 eurypylus, 2 chironides, 3 sarpedon, 4 doson, 5 antiphates), 4 Papilio species (6 polytes, 7 memnon, 8 nephelus chaon, 9 protenor euprotenor) and 4 Pierid species (10 Cepora nerissa, 11 Appias lyncida, 12 Appias albina, 13 Prioneris thestylis)

Graphium chironides is easily distinguished from other Graphium species by the orange, rather than red spots on the hindwing underside. However, in the mountains of far North Vietnam (particularly Lao Cai and Ha Giang Provinces), can easily be mistaken for G. leechi.

Graphium chironides with Graphium xenocles (Great Zebra)

153. Graphium xenocles kephisos (The Great Zebra)

Number: 153
Family: Papilioniidae
Sub-Family: Papilioniinae
Species: Graphium xenocles kephisos (Fruhstorfer, 1902)
Common name(s): The Great Zebra
Photography location: Cuc Phuong N.P. (Ninh Binh Prov.)

Monastyrskii & Devyatkin (2016) listed 20 Graphium species recorded in Vietnam viz. cloanthus, sarpedon, doson, evemon, eurypylus, chironides, leechi, arycles, agamemnon, phidias, macareus, megarus, xenocles, agetes, antiphates, aristeus, nomius, mullah, mandarinus, eurous.

Graphium xenocles ranges from Bhutan to Thailand. The subspecies indochinensis inhabits Thailand, N. Laos, N. and C. Vietnam, S. China.

Both sexes exhibit a flight pattern similar to the Danainae models which they mimic, slow and seemingly unafraid; but, unlike the models, will fly away quickly if disturbed.

A male Graphium xenocles puddling with two Red Helen (Papilio helenus) and a Spotted Sawtooth (Prioneris thestylis)

Same individual with Prioneris thestylis

Graphium xenocles with Graphium chironides

Graphium xenocles can be distinguished from the rather similar species macareus by the presence of an orange-yellow spot on the anal angle of the hindwing, and its usually larger size.

A distant but interersting shot of Graphium macareus (right) side by side with G. xenocles (Cuc Phuong, July 2016)
Males xenocles beat their forewings while puddling, unlike macareus, which sit on the mud with wings closed