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Chin’s Nature Corner

Butterflies of Malaysia

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A female Rajah Brooke's Birdwing. Copyright © Chin Fah Shin. THERE are an estimated 1,200 species of butterflies in Malaysia, in the Peninsula as well as Sabah and Sarawak. Of this number, I believe I have photographed just over 200 of the more commonly encountered species. Photographing butterflies is a hobby that I took up nearly 20 years ago. My movements are now somewhat restricted by my health condition but I still indulge in nature photography whenever "easy opportunities" present themselves.

     In this website, I present a small selection of my butterfly photos. Please see Pages 2 and 3 for the rest of the selection. If you want to see more butterfly photos, point your browser to My Butterfly Gallery. I have also provided links (see bottom of this page) to a few other butterfly websites.

     BELOW: Click on either the thumbnail image or the name of the species you want to view. This will open a new window with a larger picture of the butterfly you want to see. You can go on to the next picture inside that new window. Close that window to return to the main page.

Family Papilionidae

The Red Helen

The Red Helen (Papilio helenus) is a large, showy species which flies in open forest country near streams or waterfalls. Like the other papilionids, the males can be seen drinking at seepages or on riverbanks, either singly or accompanied by several other specimens, or even other species.

The Common Mormon

The Common Mormon (Papilio polytes) is found near gardens and villages where Citrus (e.g. lime, lemon, kumquats) is grown. The female occurs in two forms in Peninsular Malaysia: form cyrus which looks like the male, and form polytes which looks like the Common Rose (Pachliopta aristolochiae).

The Great Mormon

The Great Mormon (Papilio memnon) is one of the most interesting butterfly species because of polymorphism of the female, which may be tailed or tailless. Only one true form of the male is recognised. The specimen shown here is an abberrant male which resembles the female form ityla.

The Common Mime

The Common Mime (Chilasa clytia) occurs in several forms that mimic danainine (milkweed) butterflies. This is form dissimilis which mimics species of Ideopsis, Parantica and Tirumala. The larvae feed on the leaves of "wild cinnamon" (Cinnamomum) which is cultivated as a roadside tree to provide shade.

The Tailed Jay

The Tailed Jay  (Graphium agamemnon), with apple-green spots on speckled brown ground and "stubby tails", has a distinctive appearance. It is also known as the Green-spotted Triangle and Tailed Green Jay. Like other papilionids, the males of this species can be seen drinking at seepages.

The Fivebar Swordtail

The Fivebar Swordtail (Pathysa antiphates) is another butterfly with a "remarkable" appearance; it has a long, slender, tapering projection from each hindwing which looks like a sword. In Peninsular Malaysia, this species is usually found in the forested lowlands.

The Green Dragontail

The Green Dragontail  (Lamproptera meges) looks like a dragonfly when it is flying. Its wings beat so rapidly that they appear as a blue haze. The partly-transparent wings and long, drooping tails give it an appearance unlike that of other butterflies, except the White Dragontail (Lamproptera curius).

Family Pieridae

Painted Jezebel

The Painted Jezebel (Delias hyparete) frequents open woods and green patches, sometimes venturing into gardens. Its bright colours and slow flight serve to warn predators that it is potentially poisonous. It is attracted to nectar-bearing flowers, especially those of the Indian cherry tree.

The Redspot Sawtooth

The Redspot Sawtooth (Prioneris philonome) is a forest species which is usually encountered in open spaces near water courses. It may be seen drinking at seepages together with other pierids and papilionids. It resembles the Painted Jezebel, but it may not be a mimic of that species.

 This page revised on 22 May 2005. Copyright © Chin Fah Shin.
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