Wednesday, 29 June 2016

180. Mycalesis deficiens

Number: 180
Family: Nymphaliidae
Sub-Family: Satyriinae
Species: Mycalesis deficiens Fruhstorfer, 1906
Common name(s): ?
Photography location: Tam Dao foothills (Vinh Phuc Prov.)

Endemic of Laos, Vietnam (N. & C.) and N. Thailand. Type locality is "Chiem Hoa", Tonkin. 
This is apparently the very first image of this species in the wild posted to the internet.

ID credit: Alexander Monastyrskii

Voucher specimen from Tam Dao, upperside

Friday, 24 June 2016

179. Mahathala ameria burmana (The Falcate Oakblue)

Number: 179
Family: Lycaeniidae
Sub-Family: Thecliinae
Species: Mahathala ameria burmana (Talbot, 1942)
Common name(s): The Falcate Oakblue
Photography location: Hanoi (Mt Ham Lon)

The biodiversity within the acacia plantations is extremely poor. However, it is in this kind of habitat I found this new species for me, more precisely in a small, incised valley with remnant patches of natural vegetation. I have often been surprised by what can be found in remnant natural and semi-natural ecosystems in farming landscapes.

Monastyrskii & Devyatkin (2016) listed 2 Mahathala species in Vietnam viz. ameria and ariadeva - the former widespread, the latter only recorded in the South (Dong Nai Prov.).
ID credit:  Alexander Monastyrskii
Not the best shot in the world but enough for a positive ID. Underwing pattern very similar to that of Arhopala species but note the HW deeply excavated at apex. Photo taken on June 24, 2016

Sunday, 19 June 2016

178. Papilio dialis doddsi (The Southern Chinese Peacock)

Number: 178
Family: Papilioniidae
Sub-Family: Papilioniinae
Species: Papilio dialis doddsi Jannet, 1896
Common name(s): The Southern Chinese Peacock
Photography location: Tam Dao foothills (Vinh Phuc Prov.)

Papilio dialis has been recorded from Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, southern China, Taiwan (? Thailand). To my knowledge, the race doddsi is only known from Vietnam (N. & C.) and Laos. It is sometimes raised to specific rank by some authors (Papilio doddsi Jannet, 1896).

Papilio dialis doddsi belongs to the subgenus Achillides ("Peacocks Swallowtails"). The other representants of this subgenus known in Vietnam are P. paris paris, P. arcturus arcturus, P. krishna charlesi & P. bianor gladiator.

Two males of Papilio dialis doddsi puddling on rocks near the main stream at Tây Thiên, foothills of Tam Dao, on June 18, 2016. These are typical dialis doddsi from northern Vietnam, but some can have longer tails

This nice Swallowtail is rather local in distribution and is also a very short-lived species, so if you are not in the right place at the right time you won't see it

Male Papilio dialis doddsi sucking water on rocks along a stream (Tam Dao foothills, June 2016)

Friday, 17 June 2016

177. Papilio bianor gladiator (The Chinese Peacock)

Number: 177
Family: Papilioniidae
Sub-Family: Papilioniinae
Species: Papilio bianor gladiator Fruhstorfer, 1901
Common name(s): The Chinese Peacock
Photography location: Tam Dao (Vinh Phuc Prov.), Ba Vi N.P. (Hanoi) foothills

Papilio bianor is found in north-east India, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam (N. & C.), South Korea, China, Taiwan and Japan.
Papilio bianor gladiator was described by Fruhstorfer from Chiem Hoa, Tonkin [= northern Vietnam]. This taxon is recorded from Sikkim, Assam to N.Myanmar, N.Thailand, Laos, Vietnam (N. & C.), S.China.

Male Papilio bianor gladiator at water seepage on a rocky slope at a riverbank (Tam Dao, mid-June 2016)

Zoom out to show the entire puddle party with 5 Papilio species (1 nephelus chaon, 2 helenus, 3 bianor gladiator, 4 polytes, 5 memnon) + Graphium eurypylus cheronus (6)

Can be confused with P. dialis doddsi (or P. doddsi for some authors). Apart from the fully developed tails (most Vietnamese dialis are tailless or with small stumpy tails) there are several other characters. Note the lines of male androconial scales near the tornus of the forewing upperside are merged together, in P. dialis they are separate. Also the red and pink submarginal lunules on the hindwing underside are very different in dialis, and the basal half of the forewing underside in bianor is usually much darker than the apex, whereas in dialis there is less difference (Adam Cotton, pers. comm.).

Another male specimen, from Ba Vi this one, photographed in December 2016:

Papilio bianor gladiator on Lantana camara - an extremely popular nectar source for a wide variety of butterflies

A rather worn specimen - this is the problem with winter trips!

Many thanks to Adam Cotton for the information and ID help.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Cyana sp. (Footman moth)

Family: Arctiidae
Sub-Family: Arctiinae
Species: Cyana sp.
Common name(s): Footman moth s.l.
Photography location: Tam Dao foothills (Vinh Phuc Prov.)

Despite being a butterfly amateur enthusiast, I can’t resist sharing a picture showing an Arctiid Moth caterpillar (Cyana sp., Lithosiini, Arctiinae) in its woven basket, where it will soon pupate.
The cocoon made by this caterpillar is quite remarkable. It is an open square mesh cage, constructed out of larval setae (hairs) held together with silk! The hairs are too short to construct the cage directly, so the caterpillar attaches pairs of hairs to each other end to end, and uses these pairs to make the sides of the cage. 

Arctiidae is a family of moths that includes lichen moths, tiger moths, wasp moths and footman moths.

The pupa is suspended in the middle of the cage, equidistant from the sides. When the moth emerges, it can exit the cage without damaging it.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Callidula sp. (Callies moth)

Family: Callidulidae
Sub-Family: Callidulinae
Species: Callidula sp.
Common name(s): Callies moth s.l.
Photography location: Ba Vi foothills (Hanoi)

This is a small moth but it looks like a butterfly, because it not only fly in the day but it also settle with its wing held vertically.

Callidula sp. (Ba Vi, April 2017)