Recently I have spotted quite some interesting butterflies and moths =)
The first one I want to talk about is Chequered Lancer (Plastingia naga), as shown in the picture below. I spotted it when I walked down the corridor connecting Central Library and YIH.
This species of butterfly belong to a family called Hesperiidae, i.e. "Skipper family". Although people usually regard them as butterfly, they are actually not considered "true butterfly" from strict taxonomical aspect; rather, they share common ancestor with true butterfles. They are commonly called skippers because they can dart very quickly from one place to another, and their flight is often short and unsustained. Also, Skippers have stout bodies and the fore wings tend to be narrower than those of other butterfly families.
Skippers are usually brown of yellow with a slight tinge of brown, therefore I am quite surprised to see this strikingly black and white-coloured skipper. =)
According to sgbug.org, Chequered Lancer is often found in lowland forests like nature reserves. The reason why I saw this butterfly in school is probably due to the presence of Fishtail Palm, which is the host plant of Chequered Lancer caterpillar. =)
A nice link I found for this butterfly: http://www.sgbug.org/butterflies/spc_info.php?spc_id=235
Last night one of my choir mate saw an interesting moth on the entrance of Raffles Hall:
Initially I thought it was a wood moth (Cossidae) because the way this moth folds its wings looks like those of big Xyleutes species. However, it turned out that this species belongs to Hawkmoth family, Sphingidae and the common name of this moth is "Death's-head hawkmoth" (look at the skull like pattern on the thorax/back of the moth). There are three species of moths that share this common name, however this particular species is Acherontia lachesis.
Acherontia lachesis caterpillar feeds on various plants including those in Bean family (Fabaceae) and the Nightshade family (Solanaceae). It is said that this moth enters bee-hive and steals a honey. =O
There is an informative link for this moth: http://tpittaway.tripod.com/china/a_lac.htm
There are two more butterflies I would like to share with everyone, however, the identification here is tentative and may not be true. I will be grateful if someone can point out my mistake in identification :)
When I went to NTU, I saw a beautiful butterfly with blue-coloured compound eyes. This butterfly is probably Centaur Oakblue based on external morphology. (see: http://www.sgbug.org/butterflies/spc_info.php?spc_id=154). Centaur Oakblue belongs to Lycanidae, in which the butterflies are often called "Blue", "Copper" or "Hairstreak". Many of caterpillars of these butterflies involve ants in their life cycles.
According to sgbug.org, the butterfly often occurs where weaver ants are found. To think of it, few months ago I did find a lycaenid caterpillar on Syzygium oleosum (Blue Lilly Pilly, see: http://asgap.org.au/s-ole.html , did you find it familiar? the trees line many roads or paths in NUS) which was tended by a lot of weaver ants.
And it does look like the caterpillar of Centaur Oakblue (See: http://www.sgbug.org/butterflies/spc_photo.php?ty=LH&spc_id=154&img_list_id=322&lh_id=75). Apparently It needs weaver ants in obtaining food because when I attempted to breed it in my own room, the caterpillar did not look healthy so in the end I need to put it back to the host plant tree one day later.
The last butterfly species I would like to share today is presumably Gram Blue (Euchrysops cnejus cnejus). Spotted it outside NUS Co-op bookstore, mating on Mickey-mouse plant (Ochna sp.)
One feature about lycaenid is that every species looks almost the same so sometimes it is very difficult to identify them based on external morphology alone. :(
Lycaenid butterflies often have strikingly blue or metallic or both coloration when it opens its wing, which is a big contrast with the dull-colored, striped and spotted wings on another side. =)