Monday, May 13, 2013

The Tree Nymph, Idea hypermnestra linteata (Butler)

The Tree Nymph is not a very common insect in general but in certain elevations, it is more evident. It can often be seen gliding silently and gracefully, sometimes in pair in mid-storey under the sun-speckled forest canopy. Under this condition, the speckled wings gives a good camouflage but once it crosses an open path or a jungle road, it suddenly becomes a spectacle for anyone who has seen it drifting loftily across a road shoulder - an unusually large and fragile floating semi-transparent piece of an insect with prominent dark spots, giving rise to its name "Surat" in Malay which means "letter". This is decidedly a forest insect and can be seen sometimes cohabiting with a commoner but duskier coloured Tree Nymph, Idea lynceus lynceus (Drury) which incidently also has more elongated wings.

Habitat indicator

RSP
WV
PG
VF
FTR
SC
LWDF
LWPF
LMEF
UMN
MN




x

x

 x



Frequency observation chart: (S marks the usual occurences, H marks an unusually high occurence, F for first record)
2013
Mac
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
S3




S3
S3


2013
2014
Nov
Dec
Jan
Feb
Mac
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct











S3
2014
2015
Nov
Dec
Jan
Feb
Mac
Apr
May
June
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
S3








S3


S3
S3
2016
Jan
Feb
Mac
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec







S3
S3
S17






These photos were captured on 17 March 2013 @ 13:55 by a stream. I was about to take a dip in the stream when I suddenly saw a huge white butterfly hovering on the same spot for a moment. I grabbed my camera and took a few shots but because I only had a 105mm lense, the results were not so satisfying as the insect must have been at least 10 feet away from me and I didn't want to get too near so as not to spook it. This butterfly is a very restless insect despite its fragile looking demeanor...

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On 5 August 2013, I observed a number of Tree Nymphs in different locations and one particular female descended from the mid-canopy to lay eggs on a semi-hardy woody bush found commonly in the area, usually among the undergrowths...








 The food plant of the Tree Nymph...




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A drifting pair: 14 August 2013 @ 12:17



This one came to rest on a medium-height bush along a jungle path on 16 September 2013 @ 15:19. It is observed that the Tree Nymph can become common in places where its food plant is abundant (see above).

Unusual habit: This male was seen along a wooded village trail at ground level nectaring on Asystasia gangetica. 15 Oct 2016 @ 11:30

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