Asian honey bees on Calla lilies

The Eastern honey bee, or Asian honey bee (Apis cerana), is endemic to much of Asia where has been cultivated for honey production for millenia. It is fairly similar to the European, or Western honey bee (Apis mellifera), but is slightly smaller and its flight is faster and more erratic. They are less domesticated and produce less…

Fighting over a dead frog!

It was a hot day in northern Thailand when spotted an attractive Red Lacewing butterfly and started following it, hoping it would settle down so that I could get some decent photos. Eventually, it did land and I started creeping up on it, gradually getting closer and closer. It took me a little while to…

Which way up to read The Map?

It has been suggested that the Common Map butterfly (Cyrestis thyodamas) – also called the Oriental Map – relies for its survival on resting in an upside-down position (1, 2). Or creating the illusion of facing the other way.  If this is indeed the case, then it is not so much a form of camouflage as…

Denizens of the dappled forest: butterflies

Last October (2017) I had the pleasure of spending a few days in a delightful bungalow at Malee’e Nature Lovers Bungalows; a delightful resort, nestled under shadow of Doi Chiang Dao, Thailand’s third highest mountain (2,175 m). The attraction of this temporary abode was that it overlooked a little wood, beside a stream (below). A quiet place where…

A big black, beautiful bumblebee!

I came across this very attractive bumblebee feeding on Fuchsia flowers in the gardens of the King chedi on Doi Inthanon, northern Thailand. It really is a lovely bumblebee; the beautiful, dark brownish black body is offset by hairy golden legs and honey-coloured wings. The scientific name for this bumblebee is ‘Bombus (Melanobombus) eximius formerly in subgenus Rufipedibombus‘! Known…

Resin bugs: walking sticky traps

Reduvid bugs (Reduvioidea) – of which there are more than 7,000 named species – have evolved a diverse range of structural and behavioral adaptations to enable them to capture prey (4), including the application of sticky substances (“sticky traps”) to their forelegs by so-called resin bugs. Such ‘sticky trap predation’ is known from species in both the…

Wild at heart: the Giant honey bee

The Giant honey bee (Apis dorsata) is a large (17–20 mm long) bee, which occurs in India and S E Asia. (1) There are four subspecies; the one shown here from Thailand is Apis dorsata dorsata Fabricius. The colour is somewhat similar to the European honey bee, with golden, black and pale bands on the abdomen. Like A.…