A while back I wrote that I was aiming to have seen and documented 100 butterflies before Christmas, a goal which I’d thought was almost out of reach. Butterfly season has well and truly begun here and I’ve seen a new species almost every time I’ve been out. This meant that I reached the hundred species mark unexpectedly quickly and so to celebrate this milestone, here’s my top 10 favourite species (in no particular order) I’ve seen so far .
1.Clippers (Parthenos sylvia)
These butterflies are quite common but highly photogenic, I can’t resist snapping a few shots whenever I see one.
2. The great Mormon (Papilio memnon agenor)
This is another common species, but one that has proved very difficult to photograph as they fly fast and high above the ground. Often all you can see is their big black wings as they fly by and flashes of blue when they catch the light. They do sometimes come to the ground, but that doesn’t guarantee a photo as they’re quite skittish and fly away at the slightest movement. The photos below involved some careful stalking through vegetation to remain unseen and get close enough for a photo.
3. The Malayan Oakleaf (Kallima limborgii)
As the name suggests these guys look just like a leaf. The well camouflaged underside of their wings hides how beautiful their inner wings are. I was lucky enough the other day to have one land nearby and open it’s wings briefly. It stayed in the same spot for a while and then something magical happened, the sun came out, and as the rays began to shine through its wings they transformed from a plain brown colour to an iridescent purple and orange colour.
4. The Plain Nawab (Polyura hebe)
This is the first Nawab species I’ve seen, and what a beauty. It was feeding on a piece of rotting fruit and was content enough to let Carly crouch down right next to it and snap this great shot.
5. The Green Dragontail (Lamproptera meges)
This truly unique looking species are amazing to watch. In flight they look like lightning dancing above the ground and when they land they undulate and twist their tails which is amazing to watch.
6. The Archduke (Lexias pardalis)
These butterflies have such beautiful colours and like the clipper I can’t resist snapping photos of them whenever I see them. They have an appetite for rotting fruit which makes them great subjects for photographs as they become so focused on lapping at the juices that they don’t seem to mind you getting close to them.
7. The Great Orange Tip (Hebomoia glaucippe)
These butterflies have very plain wings when they’re closed and if they land on sand their mottled brown wings blend in perfectly and disappear into the background. Like the Malayan Oakleaf though their plain exterior hides a colourful interior. When they open their wings they reveal a bright white surface with orange tips (as their name suggests) and suddenly they appear again bringing a flash of colour to whatever surface they land on.
8. The Punchinello (Zemeros flegyas)
Although small these brightly coloured butterflies are always great to see. Depending on the light they can appear to be dull brown to vibrant red in colour and they stand out in stark contrast to their backdrop.
09. The Siam Tree Nymph (Idea Leuconoe)
This butterfly is truly magical, they really do look like nymphs (a mythical spirit of nature that inhabits woods). They have quite large wings and yet their flight seems effortless, they drift and float high up in the forest canopy like a feather on the breeze. Their wings are translucent and shimmer in the light which adds to their other-worldy appearance. When we’ve seen them they’ve been high up in the canopy floating around so I was delighted when one we were watching landed briefly on a branch high up in a tree long enough for me to get a shot.
10. The Lesser Dart (Potanthus omaha)
I couldn’t complete the list without including a skipper aptly named after their quick darting flight. They are a peculiar family of butterflies which resemble a half moth half butterfly hybrid. One thing I love about them is their short wings and the way they rest them when they land, it’s so different from other butterflies wings, as you can see below.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post and you’d like to see more of my photos of butterflies you can do so here Butterflies