Monday, May 4, 2015

The Purple Sapphire, Heliophorus epicles tweediei (Eliot)

This was once a locally common species in Fraser's Hills but now is scarce due to habitat lost and use of herbicides on park and road management. However, in the Cameron Highlands (extra-Raub), it is still locally common where the host plant is found in abundance on fringes of parks and vegetable farms.

This tiny butterfly is a sun-worshipper (incidently its genus name "Helios" refers to the sun) and is best observed in the early hours when they sun themselves on low bushes. The host plant is a montane polygonaceae of the genus Persicaria found commonly in hill stations (pix below).



At lower mid-elevation, another species of host plant of the same family can be found on open moist river banks and a surprise capture of a specimen was made on this plant at 437m above sea level on the Main Range!






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






 S8
S5







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











S8,S16, S20
2017
Jan
Feb
Mac
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
S20
S20
S5S16

S5
S16







2018
Jan
Feb
Mac
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec













15:10

15:22
Uppersides of a male (the shining purple patch on the basal areas of the wings not evident due to light angle)

15:57
The female lack the purple patch on the basal area of the wings and has much wider orange markings on both wings.

A male: 15:16. They are territorial and engage in aerial dogfights to get the best perch while sunning.

15:39

15:16

15:49

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 15:56

15:56
Above all photos from 03 May 2015

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Above photos of a newly eclosed female: 17 June 2015 @ 14:30 at S5

*     *     *     *     *

 13:43

 13:44

13:46
Above pictures of a male and female from lower mid elevation exposed stream. 11 Feb 2017

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Above pictures of a male from 28 June 2017 @ 9:58

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Probably a 2nd instar(6mm): 20 Dec 2016 @ 12:27. The caterpillar ressembles that of a Drupadia. It feeds on the underside of the young leaves, biting through but leaving a thin transparent film on the leaf.




Above pictures of the 3rd instar caterpillar (9mm) 24 Dec 2016




Above pictures of the caterpillar 26 Dec 2016 (10mm)



28 Dec 2016 @ 15mm




Final instar: 30 Dec 2016 - 15mm


Pre-pupa stage: 31 Dec 2016 @ 14mm


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