Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Telicota augias (Palm Dart)

The Telicota sp. was bred many years back but unable to ID with confidence, as there's no clear photo of Telicota augias showing the upperside especially the male stigma in reference books as well as online resources.

Using the deduction method, it was then decided the skipper is Telicota augias.

List of Telicota species compared:
T. oharamale genitalia & stigma not matched 
T. bestamale genitalia & stigma not matched
T. colonmale genitalia closely resembled, stigma not matched, yellow band not extended
T. oharamale genitalia & stigma not matched
T. linnamale genitalia not matched
T. hilda - this species have underside hindwing veins dark-dusted across post-discal band, and found only on Malaysia mountains from 2500 feet upwards.
T. bambusaemale genitalia not matched
T. augias - male genitalia closely resembled, other description matched as marked in the photos below.

Subsequent check with Hong Kong butterfly expert James Young and Malaysia butterfly expert Dr. TL Seow, further affirmed that the skipper is Telicota augias (Palm Dart).

Butterfly Description:
Wings span: 30 - 33mm
A widely distributed species from south Myanmar and Indo-China to Moluccas and Australia. The butterfly is common in Malaysia, but less common than T. besta in Singapore. The butterfly is moderate size and the wings are black, with orange-yellow marking as those in the genus. The underside is orange-yellow with faint black marking. Identifying the female is difficult.

Early stages:
Caterpillar Host Plant: Panicum maximum (Guinea Grass)

Head view of 5th instar larva

Anal plate of 5th instar larva

Larva in pre-pupation stage

Female pupa

Male pupa

Mature pupa (m top, f bottom)

Two view of the male pupa

Explanation of the ID keys:

In male, the androconia mark filled up the entire brown streak
The base on space 2 is marked orange and not black
The cell is almost entirely orange-yellow for the male
The veins crossing the orange-yellow areas are blacked

The veins crossing the post-discal band not dark-dusted in male and lightly dark-dusted in female

Female of T. augias

genitalia of T. augias

Illustration of male genitalia of different Telicota species as shown in C&P4

  • James Young from HKLS
  • Dr. TL Seow

  • The Butterflies of The Malay Peninsula, A.S. Corbet and H.M. Pendlebury, 4th Edition, Malayan Nature Society. (C&P4)
  • A Photographic Monograph on Hong Kong Butterflies - Hong Kong Lepidopterists’ Society
  • The Butterflies of Hong Kong - M. J. Bascombe, G. Johnston, F.S. Bascombe

Re-discovery of Deudorix staudingeri (The Large Cornelian)

Deudorix staudingeri (The Large Cornelian)

In year 2012, Gan CW, a senior member of Nature Society Singapore Butterfly Group photographed a larger than usual Cornelian looks alike butterfly. It was then identified as Cornelian (Deudorix epijarbas) but Gan noted it was larger then the usual Cornelian.

Until recently, with the help of Dr. TL Seow (a Malaysian butterfly expert), the butterfly then identified as The Deudorix staudingeri (The Large Cornelian).

Butterfly Description
The species is rare, known only from Singapore, P. Malaysia, Borneo and Nias (Indonesia). The Large Cornelian (D. staudingeri) may be confused with the commoner Cornelian (D. epijarbas), but on average it is larger. The male is deeper red  on upperside. On underside the white striae are poor, sullied whitish and fading, the dark striae are more prominent than in D. epijarbasAlways  with diffuse dark post-fiscal spots on hindwing.

Deudorix staudingeri (The Large Cornelian) - Photo by Gan CW

Photo of the Cornelian (Deudorix epijarbas) for comparison.
Deudorix epijarbas (Cornelian) - Photo by Jit Leang Foo
Special thanks:
  • Dr. TL Seow for his help in identifying the butterfly
  • Gan CW for sharing his finding
  • Jit-Leang Foo for allowing his photo to be share in the blog
  • Fellow NSS Butterfly Group member who participated in the discussion

  • The Butterflies of The Malay Peninsula, A.S. Corbet and H.M. Pendlebury, 4th Edition, Malayan Nature Society.

Monday, September 28, 2015

The White Club Flitter (Hyarotis microsticta) - New Butterfly Discovery!

Another butterfly new to Singapore!

Hyarotis microsticta (The White Club Flitter) - Photo by Yik Shih

Recently NSS member Yong Yik Shih, photographed a dark brown skipper at Ubin, and request NSS Butterfly Group to assist on the ID. The group can't decide on it and seeks advice from Dr. TL Seow - a Malaysian butterfly expert.

According to Dr. TL Seow, the skipper photographed by Yik Shih, is a female Hyarotis microsticta (The White Club Flitter), and the photographs is sufficient to ID the species with confidence!

Butterfly Description
The species are described as rare in P. Malaysia. The wings are dark brown, forewing of the species has small white hyaline spots at end-cell, space 2 and 3 and the usual sub-apical series, semi-hyaline spot may present at space 1b.

ID key for the species:
Wings span: 32 - 38 mm
Forewing with 3 sub-apical spots; Forewing cell spot narrow.
Hindwing with dark blotches & few white dots.
Antennal club bears a white patch before the apiculus

Hyarotis microsticta (The White Club Flitter) - Photo by Yik Shih

Hyarotis microsticta (The White Club Flitter) - Photo by Yik Shih

The White Club Flitter, photographed on 2007 at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

Hyarotis microsticta (The White Club Flitter) - Photo by Soon Chye

Hyarotis microsticta (The White Club Flitter) - Photo by Soon Chye

Special thanks:
Dr. TL Seow
Dr. Kalesh
Yong Yik Shih for allowing her photo to be share in the blog
Fellow NSS butterfly group member who participated in the discussion

  • The Butterflies of The Malay Peninsula, A.S. Corbet and H.M. Pendlebury, 4th Edition, Malayan Nature Society.
  • Butterflies of Thailand, Pisuth Ek-Amnuay, 1st Edition, 2006

Sunday, September 27, 2015

A Skipper New to Singapore - Potanthus ganda

Potanthus ganda (The Ganda Dart)

With the used of Butterfly Photo ID website ("skipper edition"), there's a new species of skipper being highlighted from old photo archive, it's also a species that not recorded by early author in Singapore - Potanthus ganda.

A male specimen was collected recently, after much scrutiny to the voucher specimen, it's now confirmed that the species is indeed a Potanthus ganda.

Butterfly Description:
Wingspan: 21 - 24 mm
A small species, looks very similar to the more common Lesser Dart (P. omaha).
The Ganda Dart differs from Lesser Dart in that the veins on the yellow band on hindwing above are not blacked. Upperside forewing spots in spaces 4 & 5 narrow separated from sub-apical spots. The species ascends the hills, and restricted to forested area.

An old photo of  Potanthus ganda, previously ID as Potanthus omaha (Lesser Dart).

Quick ID key to identify Potanthus ganda:

Photo showing the underside of P. ganda

Photo showing the male genitalia of Potanthus ganda. Note the uncus ends in a very broad & shallow "V" shape. Small drawing on the bottom left show the illustration in C&P4 for this species of butterfly.

  • The Butterflies of The Malay Peninsula, A.S. Corbet and H.M. Pendlebury, 4th Edition, Malayan Nature Society.
  • Butterflies of Thailand, Pisuth Ek-Amnuay, 1st Edition, 2006

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Early stage of Yellow Flat

Yellow Flat (Mooreana trichoneura trichoneura)

Butterfly Description:
Wingspan: 32-36 mm

Yellow Flat is rare in Singapore and not recorded by early author, and described as rare even in Malaysia. The adults of the species are found at one particular location at Singapore but believed to also found at the Western Catchment area.

The adult skipper preferred shady area and only venture to sunny spots for egg laying and sunbathing.

Host plant Description:
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Mallotus paniculatus (Turn-in-the-wind)

The host plant Mallotus paniculatus is shrubs and can grows up to 15 meter tall, with alternate leaves, tripli-veined. The leaf attract ants to feed on the nectary gland found at upper leaf base.

Host Plant with flower

Host plant: Mallotus paniculatus

The leaf with shelters of Yellow Flat caterpillar

Early stages Description:
Eggs of Yellow Flat are laid singly on the host plant leaf surface & concealed with hair from the female abdomen, usually not more than 1 egg found on a single leaf. Egg hatched after 5~7 days, only the top portion consumed by the caterpillar as shown below. The entire early stage from egg to adult took about 50 - 64 days to complete.

Egg of Yellow Flat (5-7 days to hatch)

Close-up view of the egg

Empty egg shell, only the top portion consumed by the larva

1st instar (5-6 days) - orange colour with reddish brown stripe at the side.

The 1st instar larva at the edge of the leaf, only slightly thicker than the leaf

2nd instar larva (5-6 days)

Leaf  shelter of the 2nd instar larva

2 views of the 3rd instar larva (6-8 days)

Early 4th instar larva (6-10 days)

Late 4th instar larva

5th instar larva in defence mode (15 days)

head view of 5th instar larva

5th instar larva

Leaf shelter of 5th instar larva with special feeding mark

Larva in pre-pupation stage (1.5 days)

Pupa of Yellow Flat

front view of the pupae

The pupae took 9 day to hatch into a beautiful Yellow Flat

  • The Butterflies of The Malay Peninsula, A.S. Corbet and H.M. Pendlebury, 4th Edition, Malayan Nature Society.
  • The Life Histories of Asian Butterflies Vol 2, Igarashi S & Fukuda H

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Reappearence of Painted Lady butterfly in Singapore

On 7 Sep 2015, a Painted Lady Butterfly (Vanessa cardui) was sighted again since the last sighting in 2007 by fellow member of Butterfly of Singapore and malaysia group.

This time, it was sighted near to the location where the species first found - near the Bukit Panjang Nursery, by member of Butterflies of Singapore and  Malaysia group - Cerlin Ng.

Photo by Cerlin Ng
Photo by Cerlin Ng
To clarify the doubt of many, this is not an American visitor and not American specific butterfly, calling it American visitor is misleading. In the actual fact, the butterfly species can be found all over the world on every continent except Antarctica and South America.

Photo by Alvesgaspar

Similar to the previous encounters, they are found in very pristine condition, thus casting doubt on the theory that the butterfly migrated from elsewhere (e.g. Malaysia, India or even America??). Even in Malaysia, this butterfly is rare and have not been seen for years. It was mentioned in the Popular Butterfly Book (Butterfly of Malay Peninsular) that it is a highland species and common at Cameron Highlands.
One theory is that it could be brought in together with the many plants imported from Malaysia especially Cameron Highland, hatched in nursery, and further depart from the nursery to other location in Singapore.

Further reading:
Wikipedia - describing the distribution, migration and other info.

Migration of the Painted Lady to North Africa to southern Europe.