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Invertebrates

A note on butterflies utilising longan fruit
New records of epilithic cyanobacteria: a furthur documentation of rocky shore species richness

A note on butterflies utilising longan fruit

by Roger Kendrick

Observation date: 14-August-2002; weather fine and hot, max temperature approximately 33C, light easterly winds. Location: Ping Long, Lam Tsuen Valley, N.T.; recorded by: Roger Kendrick.

For one day from 10:30 to 12:30 and 13:30 to 15:00 a longan tree with many unharvested fruit was observed to record butterfly species utilising the over-ripe fruit as a food source. The tree in question is a large longan (Euphoria longan, Sapindaceae), some 10 m in height, with a spread of approx. 12 m and a heavy crop of fruit. The tree was observed from the second floor of an adjacent building. Initial observations were made by searching for butterflies in flight around the tree. Once alighted, butterflies were viewed with the aid of 10x50 binoculars, or a telescope using a x20 magnification to confirm that the butterfly was using its haustellum ("tongue") to imbibe the juice from the longan fruit. Identifications of the butterfly species were made by comparison with plates in Bascombe et al. (1999), Marsh (1960), Johnson & Johnson (1980) and Chou (1994).

A total of 13 species was recorded to utilise the longan fruit (table 1). Of these species, eight are not listed by Bascombe et al. (1999) as using ripe fruit (other than figs) as a food source, and are marked (*) in Table 1. This includes three species of Lycaenidae, a family not listed by Bascombe et al. (1999) as using ripe fruit (other than figs) as a food source.

One further species was recorded at the same location on 11 August (by R.C.Kendrick and Cecily Law) at around 17:00, also feeding on the longan fruit. Initially thought to be Polyura nepenthes, closer inspection through the telescope revealed an unfamiliar ventral pattern that, upon referring to Chou (1994), matched the illustration of Polyura eudamippus (Doubleday, 1843) and would represent a new Hong Kong record. However, as no photographs were taken nor a voucher specimen collected, this record must be regarded as a provisional sighting only. Notes taken on distinctive markings were as follows: ventral post-median fore wing band straight, sub-medial band angular with an extension of the band from its centre costally towards the post-medial band; ventral hind wing medial band incomplete, with the dorsal third missing (see Figure 1). As a result of this sighting, all future records of Polyura nepenthes in Hong Kong should be closely checked for possible P. eudamippus.

Table 1: butterfly species observed feeding on longan fruit

Family

Subfamily

Tribe

Species

Time

Nymphalidae

Satyrinae

.

Elymnias hypermnestra
(Linnaeus, 1763)*

pm

.

Nymphalinae

Limenitidini

Parathyma sulpitia
(Cramer, 1779)

am, pm

.

.

.

Euthalia lubentina
(Cramer, 1777)

am

.

.

.

Euthalia phemius
(Doubleday, 1848)

am, pm

.

.

Nymphalini

Hypolimnas bolina
(Linnaeus, 1758)

am, pm

.

.

.

Junonia atlites (Linnaeus, 1763)*

am, pm

.

.

Apaturini

Hestina assimilis
(Linnaeus, 1758)*

am

.

.

.

Rohana parisatis
(Westwood, 1850)*

pm

.

Charaxinae

Charaxini

Polyura nepenthes
(Grose-Smith, 1883)*

pm

.

.

..

Charaxes bernardus
(Fabricius, 1793)

pm

Lycaenidae

Theclinae

Amblypodiini

Iraota timoleon (Stoll, 1790)*

pm

.

..

Deudorigini

Rapala manea (Hewitson, 1863)*

am

.

Lycaninae

.

Heliophorus epicles
(Godart, 1824)*

pm

* see text for explanation

Bibliography

Bascombe, M.J., Johnson, G. & Bascombe, F. (1999). The Butterflies of Hong Kong. Academic Press, London.

Chou, I. (ed.) (1994). Monographia Rhopalocerorum Sinensium. Henan Scientific and Technological Publishing House, China.

Johnson, G. & Johnson, B. (1980). This is Hong Kong: Butterflies. Government Information Services, Hong Kong.

Marsh, J.C.S. (1960). Hong Kong Butterflies. Shell Co. Hong Kong, Hong Kong.

Figure 1: ventral wing patterns of Polyura nepenthes (left) and P. eudamippus (right)

P.6
   

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