Wednesday, October 31

and butterflies too!

as with the birding, the butte(rfly watch)ing at makiling on our last excursion was not the best, but we did come across several species we don't see often.

i'm trying to exercise butterfy id (so much more difficult than bird id, but i hope to get better with practice!), so i welcome any corrections to mistakes in butterfly id here!

the first butterfly which caught our attention was a satyrid which blended perfectly with its surroundings. it was identified by lydia as Lethe chandica negrito. i spotted it when it was disturbed by our footsteps but when it landed, i had a pretty difficult time pointing it out to adri.  its upper side was very dark. when he finally spotted it, he took these pictures using his digiscoping set-up, much clearer than what i could manage with my hand held slr and long lens.

after landing on some dried leaves it moved to the ground where it was equally well camouflaged.

later we came across another satyrid, one which is also very common on hill 394 in subic, Ptychandra lorquinii lorquinii. this one has a beautiful electric blue upper side which is mostly seen when it is flying but not when it is perched since its wings are almost always folded together.

always present in makiling, flitting amongst the wild weedy flowers is Pithecops corvus. i love  lycaenids and i've always thought this dainty butterfly is so charming in its simplicity.

at joel's house past the buko-han, i spotted this chocolate albatross, Appias lyncida andrea, puddling on the moist ground.  this is one of the pierids that always seems to be sipping minerals from the substrate.

on some pink flowers which i have always thought of since childhood as "mini hibiscus" was another favorite: a Caleta roxus augustior.  this is one of the earliest butterflies i learned to identify and it's always fun to compare it to the other individuals from photographs by the other paro-parozzis because of slight variations of the wing patterns.

as the trail past the picnic area became narrower, we also encountered a few Tanaecia calliphorus calliphorus. this butterfly is always accommodating to photography sessions. with its fluorescent  blue stripes on the upper side and a delicately patterned under side, it was definitely a photo opportunity i didn't want to pass up on.

Very common on makiling (and subic) is this lycaenid:

in spite of its being so common i always have a difficult time identifying this species (is it Jamides sp.?) or even remembering its id. there are several lycaenids with a similar pattern, complete with false eyes and antennae on the hind wing. these butterflies can be mesmerizing to watch, the lycaenid habit of rubbing the hind wings together is easily observed while they are perched.

the lack of bird activity made the sighting of the next butterfly even more exciting. lydia identified it as Parantica vitrina vitrina. it's clear, glassy wings were so beautiful!  i read that the transparent, window-like wings of butterflies like this is because the wing is not covered with the scale-like structures which give the butterflies their colorful wing patterns.

while adri and i were busy photographing this nymphalid (adri was digiscoping!), another butterfly floated into our view and i got really excited!  i was sure it was a metalmark, a buttterfly of the Riodinidae family which in conservative taxonomy still belongs to the lycaenids. adri & i have only 1 metalmark in our pinoy butterfly photo collection so far and so we both were soon engrossed with documentation.

it was very difficult to photograph, being very skittish and flying up at the exact moment that the shutter is pressed.  the harsh noontime lighting and dappled sunlight did not make taking the picture easier.  lydia later on identified it as Abisara mindanaensis cudaca. between adri and myself, we eventually got a good photo.

also present were several dragontails, Lamproptera meges decius, which were their usually flighty selves, and so i missed out on photographing any.  i did accidentally swipe one with my hand though, to my surprise.

it was late in the afternoon already when we got to the botanical gardens.  there weren't any of  butterflies i had hoped to find puddling on the dry creek bed of the molawin creek, like we had seen before.  i did come across a skipper perched on some of the plants nearby.  the hesperiids are also a difficult family for me, although they are also often very obliging models for photography. this one was later identified (again by lydia) as Notocrypta paralysos volux, the common banded demon.

black and white nymphalids also confuse me, this one was quietly perched on the road.  even if it is one of the earliest species i  learned about, sexual dimorphism always gets the better of me, as with birds, lady butterflies are often more difficult to id.  it turned out to be a female Zethera pimplea pimplea, as id'd and confirmed by paroparozzis felix and estan.

i've always thought birding and butte-ing complimented each other: no birds? try buttes! noon birding downtime? peak butte-ing hour! in any case, my butterfly skills are nowhere near as polished as my birding skills, but no less pleasure is derived from watching these winged creatures.

suuuuuuuper thanks to the paroparozzis, especially lydia r., who are an endless source of information!


  1. Wow, that's a lot to be familiar with. I wish i am already interested in butterflies and birds when i was still living in Makiling. Most of these are not found in our property in Batangas.

  2. Hi Andrea! Yes, definitely sooo many butterflies to be familiar with, I need a lot of practice.
    I'm sure you have a lot of your own birds and butterflies in Batangas, I'm enjoying seeing your pictures on facebook too.
    Keep on b-watching!