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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Malaysia’s Butterflies – The Eggfly (Hypolimnas)

The Great Eggfly (Hypolimnas Bolina Bolina)

One of the species I find particularly attractive with its bright blue and white spot markings on the wing, like most Eggfly species it is aggressive and territorial not hesitating to chase away any intruders that fly past. There are two subspecies, the other subspecies being the Jacintha Eggfly (H. bolina jacintha). This species of butterflies are also sometimes referred to as brush footed butterflies due to their brush like appendages on their first pair of legs, and only the other two pairs of legs at the back are used for walking.

It’s behavior is not unlike the Jacintha Eggfly, highly territorial, and often has a favorite place to perch. This species is reported to have strong wings, and is capable of migratory flights.

The Malayan Eggfly (Hypolimnas Anomala Anomala)

I observed the Malayan Eggfly to be territorial and often chase away other butterflies nearby and have the behavior of always returning to its favorite perch, there are times where I will find the same specimen flying and perching in the same location even after a week. It gave me the opportunity to test out what was documented by other butterfly enthusiast that it will even try to chase away a small piece of paper if you threw it at their direction. I have confirmed that they do react that way.

An excellent subject to photograph as it will remain stationary for long periods of time once it finds its favorite spot, even disturbing the surroundings will not chase it away for long. It is a fairly common butterfly from where I live as I encounter this species quite often.

There are also some specimens I observe, that does not have the blue metallic hue on the upper parts of the forewing.

The Jacintha Eggfly (Hypolimnas bolina jacintha)
The blue sheen on the forewings reflecting the sun on a sunny day does make it looks attractive.
Not to be confused with the blue spotted crow (Euploea midamus chloe) the markings are almost similar. Do note that there are articles I read that identifies this as a female Great Eggfly, as I am not an entomologist by training I am not sure who is correct.

With some female species having mimicking abilities of other species, it does get difficult to positively identify some of them. On why mimicking of another species is done, it is to fool predators that they belong to species that are toxic and therefore are less likely to be attack or seen as a potential meal.

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