Thursday, 26 May 2016

176. Rohana parisatis (The Black Prince)

Number: 176
Family: Nymphaliidae
Sub-Family: Apaturiinae
Species: Rohana parisatis Westwood, 1850
Common name(s): The Black Prince
Photography location: Cuc Phuong N.P. (Ninh Binh Prov.)

Four species of Rohana are known from Vietnam viz. R. parisatis, R. tonkiniana, R. parvata, R. nakula.
R. parisatis staurakius (Fruhstorfer,1913) is recorded from N.Vietnam & S. China. In Vietnam, it occurs sympatrically with Rohana tonkiniana tonkiniana Fruhstorfer,1906 in many places, for example in Cuc Phuong where these pictures were taken. The two taxons look very much alike.

Both species displays striking sexual dimorphism: male is velvety matte black above whereas the female is reddish-brown.

Male R. parisatis staurakius
FW angulated below apex (FW rather straight at termen in R. tonkiniana) and with subapical white dots (none in tonkiniana)

Male R. parisatis staurakius, underside
The series of white discal spots on FW is more marked in R. tonkiniana

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

175. Scobura parawoolletti (The Divided Forest Bob)

Number: 175
Family: Hesperiidae
Sub-Family : Hesperiinae
Species: Scobura parawoolletti Fan, Chiba & Wang, 2010
Common name(s): The Divided Forest Bob
Photography location: Tam Dao foothills (Vinh Phuc Prov.)

The Vietnamese populations were earlier listed as Scobura woolletti Riley, 1923, a Bornean species, but are most likely similar to the recently described S. Chinese Scobura parawoolletti.

The skipper genus Scobura Elwes & Edwards, 1897 is a small group of Hesperiidae distributed from North India to the Sunda Islands, Indonesia. Xiaoling Fan & al. (2010) recognized 14 species in the genus, of which 9 occur in Vietnam (eximia, phidita, cephala, isota, cephaloides, coniata, tytleri, phuongi, (para)woolletti)

This tiny skipper keeps to the dark undergrowth of forests
Photo taken in natural light. Reacted immediately to the flash and disappeared into the thickets

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

174. Talbotia naganum (The Dark-banded White)

Number: 174
Family: Pieriidae
Sub-Family: Pieriinae
Species: Talbotia naganum (Moore, 1884)
Common name(s):  The Dark-banded White
Photography location: Tam Dao foothills (Vinh Phuc Prov.)

A mud-puddle party (all males), Tây Thiên (foothills of Tam Dao), 21th May 2016

Male easily recognized by having black apex on UpF which expanding inwards in space 3 to mid-way between termen and the base of vein 3, and with black spots at cell-end and discal area in space 1b; HW unmarked
Female show broad dark bands on FW (hence the english name "Dark-banded White")

Voucher male specimen, upperside

Same specimen, underside

Sunday, 22 May 2016

173. Lethe syrcis diunaga

Number: 173
Family: Nymphaliidae
Sub-Family: Satyriinae
Species: Lethe syrcis (Hewitson, 1863)
Common name(s): ?
Photography location: Tam Dao (Vinh Phuc Prov.)

Lethe syrcis is a restricted range species (E. Himalayas, N. Indochina, S. China).
The subspecies diunaga has been described by Fruhstorfer in 1911 from Mount Mau Son (N. Vietnam, close to the Chinese border). This taxon is known from Laos, N. & C. Vietnam.

Lethe syrcis diunaga (Fruhstorfer, 1911) from Tam Dao, mid-May 2016

Hans Fruhstorfer (1866-1922) was a German explorer, insect trader and entomologist who specialised in Lepidoptera. He collected and described new species of exotic butterflies, especially in Seitz'sMacrolepidoptera of the World. He is best known for his work on the butterflies of Java. 

His career began in 1888 when he spent two years in Brazil. Next he spent some time in Ceylon, then in 1890 he went to Java for three years, visiting Sumatra. Between 1895 and 1896 he collected in Sulawesi, Lombok and Bali. In 1899, he went on a three-year journey to the United States, the Oceania, Japan, China, Tonkin, Annam and Siam, returning via India.  

Following his travels, he settled in Geneva where he wrote monographs based on the specimens in his extensive private collection. In taxonomy he made extensive use of the structure of the male genitalia. Fruhstorfer, in these years also studied Palearctic butterflies, Orthoptera and botany. 

Fruhstorfer's collections are deposited at the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin, the Natural History Museum (BMNH) in London and the Muséum national d'histoire naturelle in Paris, as well as in many other museums.

Hans Fruhstorfer

172. Lethe chandica suvarna (The Angled Red Forester)

Number: 172
Family: Nymphaliidae
Sub-Family: Satyriinae
Species:  Lethe chandica Fruhstorfer, 1908
Common name(s): The Angled Red Forester
Photography location: Ba Vi N.P. (Hanoi)

Lethe chandica is mainly distributed across Southeast Asia and Southern China, reaching as far as Taiwan, Thailand, Myanmar, the Philippines and India. It is widely distributed in China, including Guangdong, Guangxi, Fujian, Chejiang, Yunnan and Tibet.

Male Lethe chandica suvarna (Ba Vi, July 2016)
So far I have seen this species at Ba Vi and Tam Dao, in both montane and lowland forests

Close-up on the nice hindwing underside pattern

Female Lethe chandica suvarna (dry season form), a worn individual found at Ba Vi on December 2016
The forewing white band is common to many Lethe females

171. Melanitis phedima (The Dark Evening Brown).

Number: 171
Family: Nymphaliidae
Sub-Family: Satyriinae
Species: Melanitis phedima (Cramer, 1780)
Common name(s): The Dark Evening Brown
Photography locations: Cuc Phuong N.P. (Ninh Binh Prov.), Ba Vi N.P. (Hanoi), Tam Dao (Vinh Phuc Prov.)

The genus Melanitis comprises of 12 species, commonly known as Evening Browns. They usually fly at dawn and shortly before dusk and are not normally seen during the day, except when disturbed.
Three Melanitis species are recorded from Vietnam viz. M. leda, M. phedima & M. zitenius.

Melanitis phedima, photographed in natural light - Ba Vi, April 2017
Melanitis species love very dark places. This made photography without flash very difficult. With flash, it can really alter their appearance

A nother specimen photographed in natural light, from Tam Dao, June 2016

Voucher male specimen from Cuc Phuong, upperside
Identification from the underside alone is unreliable - phedima can only be reliably identified from the dorsal surface, which is much darker than in leda

Same specimen, underside

Another specimen, from Mount Ba Vi, December 2016

Thursday, 12 May 2016

170. Tongeia potanini potanini (The Dark Cupid)

Number: 170
Family: Lycaeniidae
Sub-Family: Polyommatiinae
Species: Tongeia potanini potanini (Alphéraky, 1889)
Common name(s): The Dark Cupid
Photography location: Cuc Phuong N.P. (Ninh Binh Prov.)

Two species of Tongeia are known from Vietnam (Monastyrskii  & Devyatkin, 2016): T. potanini (subsp. potanini in the North, subsp. umbriel in Central VN) and T. ion (North only).

Tongeia potanini puddling on the forest floor (May 2016, Cuc Phuong N.P.)
Note the two prominent orange-crowned tornal spots in spaces 2 and 3, the black postdiscal spots
conjoined on both wings

Thursday, 5 May 2016

169. Parantica aglea melanoides (The Glassy Tiger)

Number: 169
Family: Nymphaliidae
Sub-Family: Danaiinae
Species: Parantica aglea melanoides (Moore, 1883)
Common name(s): The Glassy Tiger
Photography location: Tam Dao foothills (Vinh Phuc Prov.)

The genus Parantica comprises 42 species, of which 6 are known to occur in Vietnam viz. aglea, agleoides, aspasia, melaneus, swinhoei, sita. 
P. aglea is one of the commonest and most widespread member of the genus, occuring from India and Sri Lanka through the Southeast Asia mainland to Indochina, S. China and Taiwan. 
P. aglea is common throughout the country from lowland to mountain habitats.

Parantica aglea melanoides sipping nectar from Bidens flower (Tam Dao, May 2016)

Another individual on Crassocephalum rubens (Lai Chau, January 2016)

The male fluttering over the female during courtship (Tam Dao, May 2016)

Male Danaids have hair pencils near the end of the abdomen which, in nearly all species, are extruded from the abdominal cavity and pheromones are fanned towards the female. The pheromones serve as both aphrodisiacs and tranquilizers to females as well as repellents to conspecific males.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

168. Euthalia alpheda (The Streaked Baron)

Number: 168
Family: Nymphaliidae
Sub-Family: Limenitidiinae
Species: Euthalia alpheda Godart, 1824
Common name(s): The Streaked Baron
Photography location: Tam Dao foothills (Vinh Phuc Prov.), Hanoi City

The genus Euthalia (“Barons” and “Counts”) is represented in Vietnam by 32 species – a hard genus with many new species described in the years 1990-2000. Identification is confounded by the fact that the males and females of each species are usually very different in colour and pattern, and because several of the species produce a number of different colour forms or morphs. 

Female Euthalia alpheda from Tam Dao foothills, perched on rocks along a stream


Female feeding on a rotten fruit (Hanoi City)

A male from Hanoi City, found in a small wooded patch surrounded by agricultural fields
Same pattern than the female, but smaller and darker

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

167. Tagiades litigiosa (The Water Snow Flat)

Number: 167
Family: Hesperiidae
Sub-Family : Pyrgiinae
Species: Tagiades litigiosa Möschler, 1878
Common name(s): The Water Snow Flat
Photography location: Tam Dao foothills (Vinh Phuc Prov.)

Tagiades butterflies are popularly known as Snow Flats because of the pure white patches on the hindwings of many species, and the flat resting posture. The genus comprises 17 known species. According to Monastyrskii & Devyatkin (2016), 7 have been recorded in Vietnam: japetus, gana, hybridus, parra, litigiosa, menaka & cohaerens.

Tagiades litigiosa (female) roosting upside down under leaves (Tam Dao, September 2013)

Another female sipping nectar from Stachytarpheta jamaicensis (Tam Dao, August 2016)

Male Tagiades litigiosa feeding on Bidens flower (Tam Dao, October 2016)

166. Lethe insana (The Common Forester)

Number: 166
Family: Nymphaliidae
Sub-Family: Satyriinae
Species: Lethe insana (Kollar, [1844])
Common name(s): The Common Forester
Photography location: Tam Dao (Vinh Phuc Prov.)

A male from Tam Dao, on April 30, 2016
The female show a wide white oblique band on both sides of forewings

165. Ragadia crisilda (The Striped Ringlet)

Number: 165
Family: Nymphaliidae
Sub-Family: Satyriinae
Species: Ragadia crisilda Hewitson, 1862
Common name(s): The Striped Ringlet
Photography location: Tam Dao (Vinh Phuc Prov.)

Distribution : N.E.India to Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, N., C. & S. Vietnam. Larvae of this forest satyrid feed on Selaginella ferns of the dense forest floor (Fukuda, 1983).

Ragadia crisilda, Tam Dao, 1000m a.s.l. (April 30th, 2016)

The boldly banded underside with a full row of marginal eyespots makes it conspicuous when sitting on green leaves

Sunday, 1 May 2016

164. Aemona tonkinensis (The Yellow Dryad s.l.)

Number: 164
Family: Nymphaliidae
Sub-Family: Amathusiinae
Species: Aemona tonkinensis Rothschild, 1916
Common name(s): The Yellow Dryad (sensu lato, no particular name - why not Tonkinese Dryad?)
Photography location: Tam Dao (Vinh Phuc Prov.)

Previously the taxon tonkinensis was mentionned as a ssp. of A. amathusia (The Yellow Dryad). It was recently  raised to specific rank after clarification of the taxonomical status of A. amathusia (Devyatkin & Monastyrskii, 2008).
Aemona tonkinensis is a restricted range species known from N. & C. Vietnam, S. China (Yunnan, Guangxi).

The genus Aemona is represented in Vietnam by 7 species viz. A. lena, A. tonkinensis, A. kontumei, A. falcata, A. simulatrix, A. berdyevi, A. implicata, the five last ones described from Vietnam between 2003 and 2007.

Aemona tonkinensis is a montane species, here photographed at Tam Dao (900m a.s.l.), on April 30, 2016
Aemona species are plain butterflies of a pale fulvous colour inconspicuously ocellated on the Un

Male specimen from Tam Dao, upperside