Bluff and deception in Blues

The Longbanded Silverline (Spindasis lohita), Family Lycaenidae, is a beautiful insect with a remarkable structure – a tail, or ‘false head’ – at the end of its hind wing. There is a bright orange tornal patch – the tornus is the posterior corner of the butterfly wing – on both sides of the wing. There is also a…

Old blue eyes!

The Dusky Diadem [Ethope himachala (Moore, 1857)] is a fairly common species in upland regions of northeastern India, for example in provinces such as Arunachul Pradesh, Meghalaya and Nagaland (1).  It has a Himalayan distribution which stretches from Sikkim, through NE India and Myanmar, down into northern Thailand.  It typically occupies evergreen forest, where it…

Speckled, but inclined to vary!

Speckled Wood butterflies, Pararge aegeria, come in a variety of shapes and colours.  Perhaps the most interesting thing about this species, is that it varies along a huge gradient (called a cline) from north to south, in Europe.  In northern Europe (including parts of the UK), there is a darker subspecies (called P. a. tircis) whilst in southern…

An endemic egg-fly from Sulawesi

I chased this butterfly for quite a while before it settled down on a leaf and let me take a photograph!  I did not know what it was at the time, but subsequently discovered that it is a species which is endemic to Sulawesi called Hypolimnas diomea Hewitson, 1861.  William C. Hewitson being the gentleman who…

Chiang Dao Mountain

Doi (meaning mountain) Chiang Dao is the third highest mountain in Thailand, at 2,195 metres above sea level. It is one of the most beautiful in my opinion and the limestone massif can be seen in splendid profile from the road which runs north from Chiang Mai to the town of Chiang Dao.  There are…

Don’t eat me: I’m poisonous!

Some of the most beautiful colour patterns in nature are in fact, warnings. The yellow and black colouration of the wasp is a classic example. Another appealing combination of colours to our eyes, is black and red. These so-called, aposematic colourations are screaming out to would-be predators, saying watch out, I am poisonous! You will not…

Camouflage – in whose eyes?

When we look at beautifully camouflaged insects, such as certain butterfly species which look so much like the leaves or vegetation of their environment, we sometimes forget that they are not camouflaged for our eyes, but for those of their would be predators, which might have better eyes than us (like a hawk or owl).…