The upperside of the Chocolate Pansy is dark reddish brown with a series of prominent reddish ocelli on the hindwing, and, as the name suggests, the underside of the butterfly is a dull chocolate-like brown. It has a wingspan is about 5–6 cm, and the wavy lines on the underside of the wings vary from wet- to dry-season forms. Individuals are spotted extremely regularly across multiple habitats in Singapore (yes, that includes the College butterfly garden!) and are also relatively strong flyers. When disturbed, they tend to take off hastily in a series of long glides and short flaps that are distinct to the species.
Cycad Blue Chilades pandava pandava
The Cycad Blue is one of the more common species of the "Blues", which are a group of relatively small Lycaenids (family of smaller-sized butterflies) which exhibit some type of blue colouration on their upperside, and can be spotted relatively often in urbans gardens and forested areas. In males, the upperside is a beautiful light purplish-blue whilst that of the female is a paler blue with broader borders. The underside of both sexes is a pale grey with orange-crowned tornal black spots and a white-tipped filamentous tail. Also, individuals of this species are average flyers that only occasionally stop to rest on shrubs, leaves and flowers.
Lemon Emigrant Catopsilia pomona pomona
The Lemon Emigrant is rather common, and is easily observed in the College butterfly garden where its host plant, the Candelabra Bush, is grown. Colouration of this particular species ranges from pale green to orange-yellow with varying lengths of black borders depending on its 'form', of which there are many. Individuals are also quick flyers, and during flight, are often only seen as flashes of light greenish-yellow before the butterfly quickly settling under a leaf or on a flower.
Leopard Phalanta phalantha phalantha
A regular visitor to multiple habitats, urban and forested area alike, the Leopard has a rich orange-brown on its upperside with black spots and streaks, and a lighter orange on the underside, although the aforementioned colouration is not particularly vibrant. Behaviour wise, individuals of this species are restless and skittish, appearing to be on the move all the time as they flit from flower to flower in search of nectar. Despite their restlessness, in comparison to the Chocolate Pansy and Lemon Emigrant, Leopards are still relatively weaker flyers which will prefer to linger around the vicinity of nectaring / host plants for prolonged periods of time.
Pale Grass Blue Zizeeria maha serica
The Pale Grass Blue is one of three extremely common "Grass Blues" in Singapore, which are characterised by their tiny sizes and light blue colouration seen on the upperside of the wings of males. Similar to the other Grass Blues, their undersides are a dull grey, although a distinguishing feature is the presence of more pronounced black and brown spots. Individuals of this group tend to be weak flyers, and can usually be found on sunny days at flowering weeds along drainage reserves and patches of grasslands.
Peacock Royal Tajuria cippus maxentius
The Peacock Royal is rather uncommon in urban gardens in Singapore, and is more commonly observed along the fringes of forested nature reserves. Its underside is greyish-white, whilst the upperside is beautiful royal blue for males and a slightly paler blue for females. The large black tornal spots are broadly orange-crowned, and the hindwing features a pair of beautiful white-tipped tails! Behaviour wise, individuals exhibit rapid flight, and can be skittish except when feeding intently on flowering plants. During flight, they are usually observed as a flash of greyish-blue.
Plain Tiger Danaus chrysippus
The Plain Tiger butterfly is a common visitor to its nectaring and host plants in urban areas, fluttering about in a relaxed manner from perch to perch unless agitated or threatened. Individuals usually appear orange-brown in colour with a large white in the middle portion of hind wing, but there are forms of this species which exhibit full orange-brown colouration. Given its dependence on patches of host plants (Giant Milkweed and Blood Flower), which are mostly found in urban gardens, it really is the staple species of any butterfly garden in Singapore, including ours!
Short Banded Sailor Phaedyma columella singa
One of the more common "sailor" species on the island, the Short Banded Sailor can be found in forested areas as well as urban parks. Its underside bears the typical black-and-white stripes of the group, whilst the underside is a rich grey-brown with white stripes arranged as on the upperside of the butterfly. Propelled by short flaps of the wings, the butterfly tends to sail through the air in a calm manner and usually alights on sunlit spots with its wings open to sunbathe.
Small Branded Swift Pelopidas mathias mathias
The Small Branded Swift is a common skipper butterfly that frequents urban parks and gardens. Its ground colour is a subtle golden brown, and the wings are further ornamented with a couple of small spots dotting the central regions. In addition, individuals are fast-flying and have a habit of sunbathing on favourite perches with their wings opened in the usual fashion that skipper butterflies do. In flight, due to its small size and rapid flight patterns, it can only be seen as a blur of brownish grey.
Tailed Jay Graphium agamemnon agamemnon
The Tailed Jay is a rare sight to behold in urban gardens as it prefers to remain in forested areas and tends not to venture far into non-forested regions. Its upperside comprises of a gorgeous pattern of emerald-green spots on a black background, whilst its underside is underpinned by a purple-brown ground colour, and includes some dark patches and red spots as well. Being part of the Swallowtail family, individuals are swift-flying and are often encountered flitting from flower to flower, sipping the nectar in midflight. Occasionally, males can be observed to engage in puddling (sucking dissolved minerals from the ground) beside water bodies in forests, or even at roadside seepages.
Tawny Coaster Acraea terpsicore
First discovered in 2006 in the northern part of Singapore, the Tawny Coaster is now commonly sighted throughout the island due to the abundance of its host plant, Stinking Passionflower, which is a common weed. The wings of this relatively small species are a deep orange in males and a comparatively lighter orange in females, which are splattered with a plethora of black spots and a light touch of white. Generally, individuals are seen fluttering weakly close to ground level in urban gardens.
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