Tuesday, 31 January 2017

244. Ideopsis vulgaris contigua (The Blue Glassy Tiger)

Number: 244
Family: Nymphaliidae
Sub-Family: Danaiinae
Species: Ideopsis vulgaris contigua (Talbot, 1939)
Common name(s): The Blue Glassy Tiger
Photography locations: Cuc Phuong N.P. (Ninh Binh Prov.), Hàm Yên (Tuyên Quang Prov.)

Two species of Ideopsis are known from Vietnam - vulgaris and similis.

I. vulgaris is a widespread species in South-East Asia, occurring from southern Burma, Vietnam and Hainan through the Malay Peninsula to Indonesia, the Philippines and Borneo. Ssp. contigua ranges from S.China, Vietnam, N. & C. Thailand.
This Danaine butterfly inhabits a broad range of lowland habitats, including forest edges, plantations, scrub and  agricultural land. It favours open spaces, where adults fly slowly and frequently visit flowers.

Ideopsis vulgaris nectaring on Bidens flower - Cuc Phuong, August 2015

1) FW with basal spots in spaces 2 & 3 wedge-shaped (more or less rounded in similis)
2) white stripe in space 1a on HW as wide as the adjacent brown vein 1b stripe (much broader in similis)
3) spot at end cell on FW with a deep excavation, upside-down shark-mouth shaped (little excavation in similis)

Ideopsis vulgaris feeding on Chromolaena odorata - Tuyen Quang Prov., January 2017

Ideopsis vulgaris, underwing pattern

243. Tirumala limniace limniace (The Blue Tiger)

Number: 243
Family: Nymphaliidae
Sub-Family: Danaiinae
Species: Tirumala limniace limniace (Cramer, [1775])
Common name(s): The Blue Tiger
Photography location: Cuc Phuong N.P. (Ninh Binh Prov.)

Monastyrskii & Devyatkin (2016) listed 3 Tirumala species from Vietnam - septentrionis, limniace and gautama, the former two widespread throughout the country, the latter recorded from the center (Quang Binh Prov.) and south.

Tirumala limniace is similar to T. septentrionalis, but with broader and paler blue streaks as well as spots. T. gautama can be easily separated from the latter two by the FW discal cell with an additional blue streak along the anterior margin.
These 3 Tirumala species resemble Ideopsis vulgaris and I. similis in wing pattern and style of flight, and thus can be easily confused at first glance.

Tirumala limniace, Cuc Phuong, August 2015
The absence of a scent scale pouch (at vein 2 on HW) indicates that it is a female

Saturday, 28 January 2017

242. Heliophorus brahma major (The Golden Sapphire)

Number: 242
Family: Lycaeniidae
Sub-Family: Lycaeniinae
Species: Heliophorus brahma major Evans, 1932
Common name(s): The Golden Sapphire
Photography locations: Ô Quy Hô pass (Tam Đường District, Lai Chau Prov.)

Heliophorus brahma is a Sapphire species restricted in Vietnam to the northwest of the country - like H. kohimensis and H. eventa.
This nice Sino-Himalayan species ranges through N.India, N.Myanmar, N.Thailand, N.Vietnam, S.China (Yunnan). Monastyrskii & Devyatkin (2016) recorded it from Lao Cai, Ha Giang and Phu Tho Provinces.

Heliophorus brahma major, male - Lai Chau, below Ô Quy Hô pass, 1800m asl (January 2017)

The upperwings of male are brilliant-shining golden copper

Male, underwing pattern

241. Heliophorus eventa (The Dusky Sapphire)

Number: 241
Family: Lycaeniidae
Sub-Family: Lycaeniinae
Species: Heliophorus eventa Fruhstorfer, 1918
Common name(s): The Dusky Sapphire
Photography locations: Ô Quy Hô pass (Tam Đường District, Lai Chau Prov.)

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

Heliophorus eventa is a Sino-Himalayan species known from N.Myanmar, N.Thailand, Laos, N.Vietnam, S.China. It is very localised in Vietnam (Lao Cai & Ha Giang Prov.).

Heliophorus eventa, male - Lai Chau, below Ô Quy Hô pass, 1800m asl (January 2017)
Male Up is brown, FW with little green-blue powdering

Another male specimen

Heliophorus eventa, male, underwing pattern

Sunday, 22 January 2017

240. Chilasa paradoxa telearchus (The Great Mime)

Number: 240
Family: Papilioniidae
Sub-Family: Papilioniinae
Species:  Chilasa paradoxa telearchus (Hewitson, 1852)
Common name(s): The Great Mime 
Photography locations: Tam Dao foothills (Vinh Phuc Prov.), Cuc Phuong N.P. (Ninh Binh Prov.)

During a trip at Tam Dao foothills I bumped into an Euploea butterfly that, well, didn't sit right. Sadly, I had forgotten my net and was unable to capture it for closer examination but I managed to get a record shot. When I returned home I did a little digging and it turns out to be Chilasa paradoxa. Until now it has eluded me. 

Monastyrskii & Devyatkin (2016) listed 6 Chilasa species in Vietnam viz. agestor, epycides, slateri, clytia, paradoxa and imitata - the last one described in 2003 from central Vietnam.
Chilasa paradoxa telearchus is an excellent mimic of the Danaid Euploea mulciber.

Chilasa paradoxa telearchus on a rock by a stream at Tây Thiên (Tam Dao foothills, August 29, 2016)
Note the UpF with end cell spot, the regular rows of elongate postdiscal bluish spots and submarginal spots

Note also the curved, robust clubbed antennae - very different from that of an Euploea species

Another specimen, from Cuc Phuong, May 2017

Saturday, 21 January 2017

239. Ypthima imitans (The False Four-ring)

Number: 239
Family: Nymphaliidae
Sub-Family: Satyriinae
Species: Ypthima imitans Elwes & Edwards,1893
Common name(s): The False Four-ring
Photography location: Tam Dao (Vinh Phuc Prov.)

The genus Ypthima comprising more than 100 species, of which 25 are known to occur in Vietnam.
Ypthima imitans is a restricted range species recorded in Vietnam (N. & C.), S.-E. China, Hainan.

Ypthima imitans, Tam Dao (900m asl, June 2016)
At Tam Dao, found both in lowland (<400) and low montane (400-1,300m) forests, even in degraded ones

Another specimen, from Tam Dao also (July 2016)

Voucher specimen showing both upper and underwing surfaces 

References; Uémura Y. & Monastyrskii, A.L., 2004. A Revisional Catalogue of the genus Ypthima Hubner (Lepidoptera : Satyridae) from Vietnam. You can download it here.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

238. Graphium eurypylus cheronus (The Great Jay)

Number: 238
Family: Papilioniidae
Sub-Family: Papilioniinae
Species: Graphium eurypylus cheronus (Fruhstorfer, [1903])
Common name(s): The Great Jay 
Photography locations: Xuan Son N.P. (Phu Tho Prov.), Tam Dao (Vinh Phuc Prov.)

With at least 104 species, Graphium is the second largest genus in the Papilioniidae family - the first one being Papilio with around 210 species. But unlike Papilio, no Graphium species are known from the Neotropical and Nearctic ecozones. 
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 eurypylus is one of the most wide-ranging Graphium - from India to Australia, range similar to that of G. agamemnon and G. sarpedonMany subspecies have been described,  G. e. cheronus is known from Sikkim to Indo-China, South China.
G. eurypylus is my 8th Graphium species seen in Vietnam.

Graphium eurypylus (center of the pic) and Graphium doson axion (+ some Appias albina) puddling on a sandy river bank at Xuan Son N.P. (August 2016)
Graphium eurypylus is distinguished from the very similar G. doson by the black bar holding the red spot in S8 on the underside of the hindwing joining the black anal submarginal stripe near the base of the cell in a Y. In G. doson this black bar is clearly separate from the black submarginal stripe

Graphium eurypylus puddling with Appias galba and Appias albina (+ blurry Ixias pyrene in the top left corner) Cuc Phuong, July 2016

A nice variety of puddling butterflies at Xuan Son National Park - 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 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)  

Puddle party at water seepage on a rocky slope at a riverbank (Tam Dao foothills, mid-June 2016) with 5 Papilio species (1 nephelus chaon, 2 helenus, 3 bianor gladiator, 4 polytes, 5 memnon) + Graphium eurypylus cheronus (6)

Another puddle party, from Cuc Phuong (July 2016), with 4 Graphium species (1 eurypylus, 2 macareus, 3 doson, 4 antiphates), 5 Pierid species (5 Appias albina, 6 A. galba, 7 A. indra, Catopsilia pomona, 9 Prioneris thestylis)

Mud-puddling is one of the most fascinating butterfly behaviour to watch, especially in protected areas where hundreds sometimes thousands of individuals gathering at wet places. Not all butterflies species gather at mud puddles and it is a behaviour that is still not fully understood. The majority of specimens found near mud are males and quite often, while the butterfly blokes are drinking from the mud, fluids are pumped out of their abdomens.

It is believed that butterflies congregate on mud and other such substances primarily for salts. The salts and amino acids absorbed during mud-puddling play various roles in butterfly ecology, ethology and physiology. Males seem to benefit more from the sodium uptake as it aids in reproductive success, with the precious nutrients often transferred to the female during mating. This extra nutrition helps ensure that the eggs survive.

Typically, mud-puddling behavior takes place on wet soil. But even sweat on human skin or clothes may be attractive to butterflies.

237. Eurema andersoni sadanobui (The One-spot Grass Yellow)

Number: 237
Family: Pieriidae
Sub-Family: Pieriinae
Species: Eurema andersoni sadanobui Shirôzu & Yata, 1982
Common name(s): The Anderson's Grass Yellow, The One-spot Grass Yellow
Photography location: Cuc Phuong N.P. (Ninh Binh Prov.), Ba Vi N.P. (Hanoi)

Monastyrskii & Devyatkin (2016) listed 9 Eurema species in Vietnam viz. brigitta, laeta, hecabe, blanda, andersoni, ada, simulatrix, novapallida and sari - the first six recorded in the North.

Eurema andersoni sadanobui is distributed, at least, from Thailand, Cambodia to Vietnam (N., C. and S.) whereas the nominate subspecies is limited to the southern part of Thailand and Burma, the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra.
This species appears to prefer semi-open areas and forest margins. It has narrower habitat requirements than E. hecabe or E. blanda, and is not encountered in gardens, wastelands, grasslands or agricultural fields like the latter two species. More often than not, specimens are encountered singly. They often display the peculiar habit of hiding on the underside of a leaf to rest upside down. 

Eurema andersoni can be separated from the other lookalike Eurema by a single large cell spot distinctly 3-shaped on forewing underside.

 Eurema andersoni sadanobui, Cuc Phuong - July 2013
Note hindwing distal margin evenly rounded (angulate at space 3 in E. hecabe)

Eurema andersoni sadanobui, Ba Vi foothills - December 2016
There is usually a dark brown sub-apical patch on the forewing (which can sometimes be very indistinct or even absent)

236. Pieris canidia canidia (The Indian Cabbage White)

Number: 236
Family: Pieriidae
Sub-Family: Pieriinae
Species: Pieris canidia canidia (Linnaeus, 1768)
Common name(s): The Indian Cabbage White 
Photography locations: Tam Dao (Vinh Phuc Prov.), Ba Vi (Hanoi)

There may be as many as 34 species of Pieris worldwide, although the status of some is uncertain. The genus can be divided into 2 groups - the 'Large' Whites brassicae, cheiranthi, deota & tadjika; and the smaller species including rapae, mannii, napi and canidia which have more rounded fore-wings. Some taxonomists place the latter group into a distinct genus Artogeia, citing characteristics including chromosome number, ovipositing behaviour and larval morphology.

According to Monastyrskii & Devyatkin (2016), 4 Pieris species are known to occur in Vietnam viz. P. canidia canidia, P. rapae orientalis, P. erutae montana & P. brassicae nepalensis - the latter only recorded in the extreme northern corner of the country (Lao Cai Prov.), the other three more widespread (but unrecorded from the South).

Pieris canidia ranges from India to Malaysia and north to Japan. I have seen this species from sea level to 2000m (Sa Pa), along corridors of ruderal vegetation in forest, agricultural fields or riverbanks, sometimes side by side with P. rapae or P. erutae.

Pieris canidia canidia on Bidens flower (Tam Dao foothills, March 2016, riverbank)

Female, upperside view (Ba Vi foothills, January 2017, agricultural field)
Female UpF with two black spots (only one in male) 

Sunday, 15 January 2017

235. Syntarucus plinius plinius (The Zebra Blue)

Number: 235
Family: Lycaeniidae
Sub-Family: Polyommatiinae
Species: Syntarucus plinius plinius (Fabricius, 1793)
Synonym: Leptotes plinius (Fabricius, 1793)
Common name(s): The Zebra Blue, The Plumbago Blue
Photography location: Hanoi City

Syntarucus plinius (male), Hanoi, January 04, 2017

 Commonly known as Zebra Blue in reference to its zebra-striped undersides
An amazing wing pattern, indeed! 

The top side of male butterflies are purple in colour with brown wing edges
The females are brown with a patchy white pattern.

 The caterpillar feeds on the flowers and buds of Plumbago species notably
Plumbago zeylanica (photo), hence the other english name of this Lycaenid: Plumbago Blue

Friday, 13 January 2017

234. Catopsilia pomona pomona (The Lemon Emigrant)

Number: 234
Family: Pieriidae
Sub-Family: Pieriinae
Species: Catopsilia pomona pomona (Fabricius, 1775)
Common name(s): The Lemon Emigrant, The Common Emigrant
Photography locations: Hanoi, Tam Dao foothills (Vinh Phuc Prov.)

Lemon Emigrant is a large, strong-flying, migratory species exhibiting a marked sexual and seasonal dimorphism. There are two groups of forms, namely the 'crocale' group and the 'pomona' group : 

The 'crocale' group is characterized by having the upperside of antennae black, and the absence of silvery spots at cell-ends on the underside. The male -f alcmeone is mostly white above but yellow in the basal third of the wings and thinly bordered at the forewing apex. The females could appear in the jugurtha or the crocale form. The -f jugurtha is creamy white above with yellow wing base and black border on the forewing costa and termen of both wings. It has a series of black submarginal markings and a black spot at cell-end on the forewing. The -f crocale has a broad black distal border with a series of whitish spots embedded on both wings.  

The 'pomona' group is characterized by having the upperside of antennae red and the presence of red-ringed silvery spots at cell-ends on the underside. The male -f hilaria has similar upperside as the male -f alcmeone but with lesser extent of basal yellow area. The females could appear in the pomona, catilla or the nivescens form. The -f pomona has yellow wings with reduced black border and markings while -f nivescens is similar but with whitish wings. The -f catilla has large reddish patches on the underside.

Catopsilia pomona, male f. hilaria (Tam Dao, September 2015), nectaring on Celosia argentea, a common weed in dry open places such as roadsides and waste lands

Male f. alcmeone (Hanoi, May 2013)

Male f. alcmeone (Hanoi, August 2015)

Male f. alcmeone in hand, to show the upperwings color patern

Female f. crocale (Hanoi, August 2015) nectaring on Bidens flowers

Female f. crocale, upperwings (Hanoi, April 2014)

Female f. jugurtha (Ba Vi, January 2017) on Lantana camara flowers
Note the black spot at cell-end on the forewing

Female f. pomona (Tam Dao foothills, September 2015)

Female f. pomona (Hanoi, July 2015)

Female f. catilla (Hanoi, April 2014)

Streamside aggregation of puddling Catopsilia pomona (Tam Dao foothills, May 2015) with males f. hilaria and f. alcmeone, + 1 Appias lyncida and 1 Appias albina (blurry)

Two puddling males f. alcmeone with Appias lyncida and Cepora nadina

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

233. Tagiades parra gala (The Multi-spotted Snow Flat)

Number: 233
Family: Hesperiidae
Sub-Family : Pyrgiinae
Species: Tagiades parra gala Evans, 1949
Common name(s): The Multi-spotted Snow Flat
Photography location: Ba Vi N.P. foothills (Hanoi)

The genus Tagiades comprises 17 known species. According to Monastyrskii & Devyatkin (2016), 7 have been recorded in Vietnam: japetus, gana, hybridus, parra, litigiosa, menaka & cohaerens.

Menaka, litigiosa, parra, hybridus and cohaerens show in both sexes large white tornal area of HW reaching space 4, unlike japetus and gana

Tagiades parra gala sipping nectar from Lantana flowers (Ba Vi, January 7, 2017) - my third Tagiades species seen around Hanoi

Same individual
Note the postdiscal HW spots 4 & 5 clumped into a large spot 

232. Athyma perius perius (The Common Sergeant)

Number: 232
Family: Nymphaliidae
Sub-Family: Limenitidiinae
Species: Athyma perius perius (Linnaeus, 1758)
Common name(s): The Common Sergeant
Photography location: Hanoi City

The genus Athyma is represented in Vietnam by 15 species – perius, pravara, asura, larymna, kanwa, jina, opalina, orientalis, selenophora, zeroca, whitei, cama, nefte, ranga and punctata (Monastyrskii & Devyatkin, 2016).

The shrublands and wastelands of Hanoi City are certainly not great places for butt hunting, but they can sometimes reserve some surprises. In October 2015, the surprise comes in the shape of this (migrant, vagrant ?) Athyma perius, a species that I've never seen anywhere else (despite not being particularly rare, so very probably overlooked).

Athyma perius feeding on Chromolaena odorata shrubs - Hanoi (October 20, 2015)

231. Catopsilia pyranthe pyranthe (The Mottled Emigrant)

Number: 231
Family: Pieriidae
Sub-Family: Pieriinae
Species: Catopsilia pyranthe pyranthe (Linnaeus, 1758)
Common name(s): The Mottled Emigrant
Photography location : Hanoi

 Catopsilia pyranthe (female) on Lantana camara - an extremely popular nectar source for a wide variety of butterflies (Hanoi, October 2015)

Beneath, the wings show many rather faint and short transverse striae in reddish brown, giving a "mottled" appearance