Rock (and roll!) Grayling

The great Dutch biologist Niko Tinbergen, first described the highly stereotypic courtship behaviour of the Grayling, Hipparchia semele (Linnaeus 1758), a butterfly which was common on a dune area in the center of the Netherlands, Hulshorst sands – on the shores of the Zuider Zee – where he was carrying out research on digger wasps. The complex…

Weaver’s Fritillary

It is rather ironic that this little butterfly, which was named by a 19th Century British entomologist, does not occur in the UK! Weaver’s fritillary (Boloria dia) occurs throughout mainland Europe, and is found just across the Channel in northern France (see distribution map, below). It is also called the Violet Fritillary, a name which…

See you down the puddle! Puddling in butterflies.

‘Puddling’ or ‘mud-puddling’ is when butterflies, moths and other insects settle on moist substrates to absorb liquids. Butterflies – particularly in the tropics – exhibit this puddling behaviour when feeding on moist ground, mud, animal excrement, rotting fruits, carrion, dung, bird droppings, sweat, tears and so on. One might think that puddling butterflies are just…

A tale of two butterflies

This butterfly is Vindula erota erota Fabricius, 1793: the Thai Cruiser. There are both Wet and Dry season forms of this species (1). This occurrence of different types or forms of the same butterfly species, in different seasons, is called ‘seasonal polyphenism’ and has probably evolved as an adaptation to the different environments – and…

Bunches of butterflies

When visiting Doi Chiang Dao – a place I have written about before (1) – last November (2015), I came across some interesting aggregations of butterflies; composed mainly of Blues (lycaenids) and Yellows (pierids). I may have been a little bit late, as October is said to be the best month to see butterflies in…

Forest walk

Visitors to Chiang Mai usually head up the mountain to visit Wat Doi Sutep. Beautiful and impressive though this temple is, it can get quite crowded on weekends and holidays. But just beyond the temple, and hardly visited at all, is a lovely peaceful national park (Doi Sutep-Pui NP) where it is possible to walk…

The Common Earl, a butterfly with green eyes!

The Common Earl (Tanaecia julii), as the name suggests, is a relatively common butterfly with a wide distribution, including India, Bhutan, Myanmar, Thailand, China, West Malaysia and Sumatra.  It is a butterfly I see regularly whilst walking in Doi Suthep–Pui National Park, Chiang Mai, Thailand, and all of these photographs were taken there, at different times.…