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Trip Reports
Butterfly-watching Holidays
Malaysia & Borneo
August 2004
a non-profit small group trip organised and led by Adrian Hoskins

Our first destination was Tapah on the Malaya peninsula. At nearby Kuala Woh park we found 5 mud-puddling groups of the stunning Rajah Brook's Birdwing Trogonoptera brookiana, each with as many as 30 of these huge and very beautiful creatures, their iridescent green and black wings outstretched and overlapping those of their neighbours. Some of the puddling spots were difficult to locate and access, but luckily I was able to edge down the riverbank and find myself standing in the midst of a group, with one sitting on my finger, several more at my feet, and groups of 4 or 5 circling around me in follow the leader fashion. Absolute bliss !

Most other species at Kuala Woh were only present in ones and twos, and needed to be searched for. These included the long tailed, bright orange hairstreak Eooxylides tharis, the gorgeous Euploea radamanthus, Appias lyncida, Tanaecia iapis, and the rarely sighted female of brookiana, which did a fly past as I crossed the suspension bridge.

There were also a few brookiana at Tapah Hills, where we also saw the impressively large Satyrine Neorina lowii, the golden Birdwing Triodes helena, the spectacular 5-bar Swordtail Pathysa antiphates, and several transparent Dragontails Lamproptera meges, which "hawk" like dragonflies in flight, but are members of the Papilionidae. The many other butterflies included Ideopsis gaura, Drupadia ravindra, the monstrous Zeuxidia aurelius, Polyura athamus, the Autumn Leaf Doleschallia bisaltide, the brilliant copper Sunbeam Curetis tagalica, and the Neptune Swallowtail Pachliopta neptunus. The latter is black, with red patches on the hindwings reminiscent of a neotropical Parides, but with an almost luminous golden yellow abdomen. When flying in dappled sunlight the black areas of the wings disappear against the dark forest background, and all you see are the red patches, and the gleaming golden abdomen floating eerily in the darkness.

One day we went up to the Cameron Highlands - great fun hurtling around those hairpin bends ! At the summit of Mount Brinchang we found the rare cloudforest Danaine Parantica sita, and near Tanah Rata saw about 30 Long-tailed Blues Lampides boeticus, but the weather was dull and cool, so we saw little else. On the way back to Tapah we stopped at one of the very few accessible tracks on the endlessly snaking road, where I found a full grown larva of an Oriental Deaths Head Hawkmoth Acherontia lachesis feeding on a nightshade.

After returning our vehicle to Kuala Lumpur we flew out to the Malaysian province of Sabah, on Borneo. From the plane we could see that virtually the whole of lowland Borneo was covered in oil palm plantations. Upon arrival at Lahad Datu we transferred to the beautiful Danum Valley, one of the very few remaining areas of natural forest. The 2 hour journey to our lodge took us through the Danum Valley Conservation Area where we encountered several gargantuan trucks laden with enormous tree trunks bound for Japan. The only remaining areas of primary forest are a few hundred hectares surrounding the lodge. The rest of the so-called "conservation area" is divided into various concessions: "reduced impact logging zone" ( about 80 percent of trees felled ), "agro-forestry zone" ( alien species planted for timber ), and "reforestation zone" ( clear felled land replanted with selected native species ).

The lodge has a stunning setting on the banks of a wide meandering river, with steep forested hills opposite, reached by swaying suspension bridges; and an impressive canopy walkway. The area was entomologically disappointing however, with only one very distant Birdwing seen, unlike on our previous tour, when several black and gold Triodes species were constantly attending flowering bushes adjacent to the lodge.

The unseasonably dry weather had delayed the emergence of most species, although we did see Papilio nephelus, Papilio memnon, Euploea sylvester, the Great Orange tip Hebomoia glaucippe, Pareronia valeria, Chersonesia rahria, Parthenos sylvia, Charaxes bernardus, the Red Lacewing Cethosia hypsea, Dophla evelina, Drupadia theda, the Tree Nymph Idea lynceus, Jacoona anasuja, and the brilliant metallic green Arhopala eumolphus. Commoner species included Ypthima fasciata, Junonia atlites, and the little fly-like skipper Taractrocera ardonia.

Butterflies were only part of the story though - an orang utan appeared at the edge of the road, as did a wild boar, and a monitor lizard. Daytime walks produced maroon langurs, long-tailed macaques, green fence lizards, flying lizards, hornbills, kingfishers, herons and woodpeckers. There were some fantastic dragonflies, with brilliant red or purple abdomens. Significant, but a little less exciting, were piles of elephant dung, and rhinoceros footprints. In the evenings we had the chance to go on guided walks or night drives, and saw a great variety of creatures, including mouse deer, common palm civet ( with young ), and flying squirrels gliding from tree to tree. We also saw a huge hairy huntsman spider on a tree trunk, and the deadly Borneo Pit Viper, which looked exactly like a small bit of twisted tree root, and led to nervousness on the trails next morning !

The Danum Valley forest was alive with wonderful sounds - during the day gibbons melodically whooped, grasshoppers chirped, and magnificent rhinoceros hornbills whirred and clattered overhead. At dusk the siren wail of giant cicadas, and the croaking and chirping of myriads of frogs filled the air with music. Unforgettable !

Our final destination was Mulu national park in Sarawak, a province which thankfully still has vast remaining areas of virtually untouched forest. The longest trail which we attempted at Mulu was the one to Clearwater Cave, which entailed a 420 step climb, and a 5 minute crawl through the unlit Moonmilk Cave that resulted in heads colliding with stalactites ( "mites" grow up, "tites" come down, as they say ). Upon exiting the cave we then had to descend 400 slippery steps to reach the entrance to Wind Cave and Clearwater Cave, where we saw the huge "dead leaf" butterfly Amathuxidea amythaon, and an 8 foot water snake.

The best place for butterflies was the plank-walk to Deer Cave, where I succeeded in photographing the lovely Papilionid Pathysa delessertii, the Plum Judy Abisara saturata, and the huge and graceful Tree Nymph Idea lynceus, which circled around our heads for several minutes. Unfortunately I failed to photograph an out of reach and very beautiful purple and pink Terinos clarissa, as I had left my 300mm lens back at the lodge.

Near the cave entrance we saw a little Allotinus that was feeding on aphid secretion, in company with several ants. We also saw an amazing little white aphid which looked exactly like a tiny bit of lichen on legs; some nice stick insects, mantises, hemipteran bugs, and a variety of brightly coloured centipedes and millipedes. After returning to our lodge that night, we found a Giant Atlas moth Attacus atlas, one of the largest species of moth in the world, with a wingspan of 10 inches. Later, one member of our group unintentionally invited in a night visitor that came tapping on his window - a gigantic cicada that had a wingspan of over 9 inches, and made more noise than an outboard motor !

Borneo is a wonderful destination that I would highly recommend to any naturalist, and I'm very much looking forward to my next visit to this fascinating land.

Species recorded in West Malaysia and Borneo in August 2004.
All species listed below were identified by Adrian Hoskins, using Corbet & Pendlebury ( 1992 ).

Site

Family

sub-family

Genus

species

sub-species

Tapah Hills

Hesperiidae

Coeliadinae

Choaspes

subcaudatus

Mulu

Hesperiidae

Coeliadinae

Hasora

schoenherr

Danum valley

Hesperiidae

Coeliadinae

Hasora

schoenherr

Danum valley

Hesperiidae

Hesperiinae

Acerbas

martini

Danum valley

Hesperiidae

Hesperiinae

Ancistroides

nigrita

Mulu

Hesperiidae

Hesperiinae

Bibasis

etelka

Mulu

Hesperiidae

Hesperiinae

Halpe

elana

Tapah Hills

Hesperiidae

Hesperiinae

Halpe

elana

Tapah Hills

Hesperiidae

Hesperiinae

Iambrix

salsala

Kuala Woh

Hesperiidae

Hesperiinae

Koruthaialos

rubecula

Kuala Woh

Hesperiidae

Hesperiinae

Koruthaialos

sindu

Danum valley

Hesperiidae

Hesperiinae

Koruthaialos

sindu

Mulu

Hesperiidae

Hesperiinae

Notocrypta

clavata

Kuala Woh

Hesperiidae

Hesperiinae

Notocrypta

paralysos

Danum valley

Hesperiidae

Hesperiinae

Oriens

gola

Tapah Hills

Hesperiidae

Hesperiinae

Potanthus

ganda

Mulu

Hesperiidae

Hesperiinae

Psolos

fuligo

Tapah Hills

Hesperiidae

Hesperiinae

Psolos

fuligo

Danum valley

Hesperiidae

Hesperiinae

Taractrocera

ardonia

Mulu

Hesperiidae

Pyrginae

Odontoptilum

pygela

Tapah Hills

Hesperiidae

Pyrginae

Sarangesa

dasahara

Tapah Hills

Hesperiidae

Pyrginae

Tagiades

litigiosa

Mulu

Lycaenidae

Curetinae

Curetis

regula

Mulu

Lycaenidae

Curetinae

Curetis

santana

Tapah Hills

Lycaenidae

Curetinae

Curetis

tagalica

Tapah Hills

Lycaenidae

Lycaeninae

Spindasis

lohita

Kuala Woh

Lycaenidae

Miletinae

Allotinus

corbetti

Mulu

Lycaenidae

Miletinae

Allotinus

fabius

Kuala Woh

Lycaenidae

Miletinae

Allotinus

horsfieldi

Kuala Woh

Lycaenidae

Miletinae

Allotinus

leogoron

Mulu

Lycaenidae

Miletinae

Allotinus

strigatus

Kuala Woh

Lycaenidae

Miletinae

Allotinus

subviolaceus

Kuala Woh

Lycaenidae

Miletinae

Allotinus

unicolor

Mulu

Lycaenidae

Polyommatinae

Anthene

emolus

Mulu

Lycaenidae

Polyommatinae

Caleta

manovus

Mulu

Lycaenidae

Polyommatinae

Caleta

roxus

Danum valley

Lycaenidae

Polyommatinae

Caleta

roxus

Tapah Hills

Lycaenidae

Polyommatinae

Caleta

roxus

Mulu

Lycaenidae

Polyommatinae

Jamides

bochus

Tapah Hills

Lycaenidae

Polyommatinae

Jamides

caeruleus

Kuala Woh

Lycaenidae

Polyommatinae

Jamides

celeno

Mulu

Lycaenidae

Polyommatinae

Jamides

celeno

Danum valley

Lycaenidae

Polyommatinae

Jamides

celeno

Tanah Rata

Lycaenidae

Polyommatinae

Lampides

boeticus

boeticus

Gunung Brinchang

Lycaenidae

Polyommatinae

Lampides

boeticus

boeticus

Mulu

Lycaenidae

Polyommatinae

Nacaduba

subperusia

Tapah Hills

Lycaenidae

Polyommatinae

Prosotas

nora

Danum valley

Lycaenidae

Polyommatinae

Zizina

otis

Danum valley

Lycaenidae

Theclinae

Arhopala

eumolphus

Tapah Hills

Lycaenidae

Theclinae

Catapaecilma

major

Mulu

Lycaenidae

Theclinae

Cheritra

freja

Tapah Hills

Lycaenidae

Theclinae

Drupadia

cinesoides

Mulu

Lycaenidae

Theclinae

Drupadia

ravindra

sumptuosa

Danum valley

Lycaenidae

Theclinae

Drupadia

ravindra

sumptuosa

Tapah Hills

Lycaenidae

Theclinae

Drupadia

ravindra

sumptuosa

Tapah Hills

Lycaenidae

Theclinae

Drupadia

ravindra

Danum valley

Lycaenidae

Theclinae

Drupadia

theda

Kuala Woh

Lycaenidae

Theclinae

Eooxylides

tharis

Tapah Hills

Lycaenidae

Theclinae

Hypolycaena

erylus

Mulu

Lycaenidae

Theclinae

Hypolycaena

erylus

Danum valley

Lycaenidae

Theclinae

Jacoona

anasuja

Tapah Hills

Lycaenidae

Theclinae

Loxura

cassiopiea

Mulu

Lycaenidae

Theclinae

Rapala

dieneces

Danum valley

Lycaenidae

Theclinae

Remelana

jangala

Danum valley

Lycaenidae

Theclinae

Surendra

florimel

Tapah Hills

Lycaenidae

Theclinae

Zeltus

amasa

Mulu

Lycaenidae

Theclinae

Zeltus

amasa

Tapah Hills

Nymphalidae

Biblidinae

Ariadne

ariadne

Mulu

Nymphalidae

Biblidinae

Chersonesia

intermedia

Danum valley

Nymphalidae

Biblidinae

Chersonesia

rahria

Tapah Hills

Nymphalidae

Biblidinae

Chersonesia

rahria

Mulu

Nymphalidae

Biblidinae

Chersonesia

rahria

Tapah Hills

Nymphalidae

Biblidinae

Cyrestis

cocles

Mulu

Nymphalidae

Charaxinae

Charaxes

bernardus

Danum valley

Nymphalidae

Charaxinae

Charaxes

bernardus

Mulu

Nymphalidae

Charaxinae

Polyura

athamas

Tapah Hills

Nymphalidae

Charaxinae

Polyura

athamus

Kuala Woh

Nymphalidae

Danainae

Euploea

core

Tapah Hills

Nymphalidae

Danainae

Euploea

mulciber

Danum valley

Nymphalidae

Danainae

Euploea

mulciber

Mulu

Nymphalidae

Danainae

Euploea

mulciber

Danum valley

Nymphalidae

Danainae

Euploea

radamanthus

Kuala Woh

Nymphalidae

Danainae

Euploea

radamanthus

Tapah Hills

Nymphalidae

Danainae

Euploea

sylvester

Danum valley

Nymphalidae

Danainae

Euploea

sylvester

Tapah Hills

Nymphalidae

Danainae

Idea

lynceus

Danum valley

Nymphalidae

Danainae

Idea

lynceus

Mulu

Nymphalidae

Danainae

Idea

lynceus

Tapah Hills

Nymphalidae

Danainae

Ideopsis

gaura

Mulu

Nymphalidae

Danainae

Ideopsis

gaura

Tapah Hills

Nymphalidae

Danainae

Ideopsis

vulgaris

Danum valley

Nymphalidae

Danainae

Ideopsis

vulgaris

Tapah Hills

Nymphalidae

Danainae

Parantica

aglea

Gunung Brinchang

Nymphalidae

Danainae

Parantica

sita

Tapah Hills

Nymphalidae

Heliconiinae

Cethosia

biblis

Danum valley

Nymphalidae

Heliconiinae

Cethosia

hypsea

Tapah Hills

Nymphalidae

Heliconiinae

Cethosia

penthesilea

Mulu

Nymphalidae

Heliconiinae

Cethosia

penthesilea

Tapah Hills

Nymphalidae

Heliconiinae

Cirrochroa

emalea

Danum valley

Nymphalidae

Heliconiinae

Cirrochroa

orissa

Tapah Hills

Nymphalidae

Heliconiinae

Cirrochroa

orissa

Mulu

Nymphalidae

Heliconiinae

Cupha

erymanthis

Tapah Hills

Nymphalidae

Heliconiinae

Cupha

erymanthis

Danum valley

Nymphalidae

Heliconiinae

Paduca

fasciata

Mulu

Nymphalidae

Heliconiinae

Phalanta

alcippe

Mulu

Nymphalidae

Heliconiinae

Terinos

clarissa

Tapah Hills

Nymphalidae

Heliconiinae

Terinos

clarissa

Tapah Hills

Nymphalidae

Heliconiinae

Vindula

dejone

Mulu

Nymphalidae

Limenitidinae

Amnosia

decora

Mulu

Nymphalidae

Limenitidinae

Athyma

laryma

Danum valley

Nymphalidae

Limenitidinae

Athyma

nefte

Danum valley

Nymphalidae

Limenitidinae

Athyma

pravara

Danum valley

Nymphalidae

Limenitidinae

Dophla

evelina

Mulu

Nymphalidae

Limenitidinae

Euthalia

monina

indras

Kuala Woh

Nymphalidae

Limenitidinae

Lexias

cyanipardus

Danum valley

Nymphalidae

Limenitidinae

Lexias

dirtea

Mulu

Nymphalidae

Limenitidinae

Lexias

pardalis

Danum valley

Nymphalidae

Limenitidinae

Moduza

procris

Tapah Hills

Nymphalidae

Limenitidinae

Neptis

harita

Mulu

Nymphalidae

Limenitidinae

Neptis

nata

Tapah Hills

Nymphalidae

Limenitidinae

Pantoporia

hordonia

Mulu

Nymphalidae

Limenitidinae

Parthenos

sylvia

Danum valley

Nymphalidae

Limenitidinae

Parthenos

sylvia

Danum valley

Nymphalidae

Limenitidinae

Tanaecia

aruna

Kuala Woh

Nymphalidae

Limenitidinae

Tanaecia

iapis

Danum valley

Nymphalidae

Limenitidinae

Tanaecia

iapis

Kuala Woh

Nymphalidae

Limenitidinae

Tanaecia

julii

Tapah Hills

Nymphalidae

Morphinae

Amathusia

phidippus

Mulu

Nymphalidae

Morphinae

Amathuxidia

amathaon

Tapah Hills

Nymphalidae

Morphinae

Faunis

canens

Mulu

Nymphalidae

Morphinae

Faunis

stomphax

Tapah Hills

Nymphalidae

Morphinae

Melanocyma

faunula

Mulu

Nymphalidae

Morphinae

Thaumantis

klugius

Tapah Hills

Nymphalidae

Morphinae

Thaumantis

klugius

Tapah Hills

Nymphalidae

Morphinae

Zeuxidia

aurelius

Tapah Hills

Nymphalidae

Nymphalinae

Doleschallia

bisaltide

Tapah Hills

Nymphalidae

Nymphalinae

Hypolimnas

anomala

Kuala Woh

Nymphalidae

Nymphalinae

Hypolimnas

bolina

jacintha

Danum valley

Nymphalidae

Nymphalinae

Junonia

atlites

Mulu

Nymphalidae

Nymphalinae

Junonia

atlites

Danum valley

Nymphalidae

Nymphalinae

Junonia

hedonia

Mulu

Nymphalidae

Nymphalinae

Junonia

hedonia

Danum valley

Nymphalidae

Nymphalinae

Junonia

iphita

Kuala Woh

Nymphalidae

Nymphalinae

Junonia

iphita

Mulu

Nymphalidae

Nymphalinae

Junonia

orithya

Mulu

Nymphalidae

Nymphalinae

Kamilla

limborgii

Tapah Hills

Nymphalidae

Nymphalinae

Symbrenthia

hypatia

chersonesia

Tapah Hills

Nymphalidae

Satyrinae

Elymnias

hypermnestra

Mulu

Nymphalidae

Satyrinae

Elymnias

panthera

Danum valley

Nymphalidae

Satyrinae

Elymnias

panthera

Danum valley

Nymphalidae

Satyrinae

Mycalesis

anapita

Mulu

Nymphalidae

Satyrinae

Mycalesis

horsfieldi

Danum valley

Nymphalidae

Satyrinae

Mycalesis

marginata

Mulu

Nymphalidae

Satyrinae

Mycalesis

orseis

Danum valley

Nymphalidae

Satyrinae

Mycalesis

orseis

Tapah Hills

Nymphalidae

Satyrinae

Mycalesis

patiana

Danum valley

Nymphalidae

Satyrinae

Mycalesis

patiana

Tapah Hills

Nymphalidae

Satyrinae

Mycalesis

perseoides

Danum valley

Nymphalidae

Satyrinae

Mycalesis

perseoides

Tapah Hills

Nymphalidae

Satyrinae

Neorina

lowii

Kuala Woh

Nymphalidae

Satyrinae

Ragadia

makuta

Mulu

Nymphalidae

Satyrinae

Ragadia

makuta

Kuala Woh

Nymphalidae

Satyrinae

Xanthotaenia

busiris

Mulu

Nymphalidae

Satyrinae

Xanthotaenia

busiris

Danum valley

Nymphalidae

Satyrinae

Ypthima

fasciata

Tapah Hills

Nymphalidae

Satyrinae

Ypthima

fasciata

Tapah Hills

Nymphalidae

Satyrinae

Ypthima

pandocus

Tapah Hills

Papilionidae

Papilioninae

Graphium

antiphates

itamputi

Mulu

Papilionidae

Papilioninae

Graphium

delessertii

Kuala Woh

Papilionidae

Papilioninae

Graphium

evemon

eventus

Kuala Woh

Papilionidae

Papilioninae

Graphium

sarpedon

luctatius

Kuala Woh

Papilionidae

Papilioninae

Graphium

sarpedon

luctatius

Mulu

Papilionidae

Papilioninae

Graphium

sarpedon

Danum valley

Papilionidae

Papilioninae

Graphium

sarpedon

Tapah Hills

Papilionidae

Papilioninae

Lamproptera

curius

curius

Danum valley

Papilionidae

Papilioninae

Lamproptera

meges

Tapah Hills

Papilionidae

Papilioninae

Pachliopta

aristolochiae

asteris

Tapah Hills

Papilionidae

Papilioninae

Pachliopta

neptunus

neptunus

Danum valley

Papilionidae

Papilioninae

Papilio

demolion

demolion

Tapah Hills

Papilionidae

Papilioninae

Papilio

helenus

helenus

Danum valley

Papilionidae

Papilioninae

Papilio

memnon

Mulu

Papilionidae

Papilioninae

Papilio

memnon

Danum valley

Papilionidae

Papilioninae

Papilio

nephelus

Tapah Hills

Papilionidae

Papilioninae

Papilio

nephelus

sunatus

Mulu

Papilionidae

Papilioninae

Trogonoptera

brookiana

trogon

Tapah Hills

Papilionidae

Papilioninae

Trogonoptera

brookiana

albescens

Kuala Woh

Papilionidae

Papilioninae

Trogonoptera

brookiana

albescens

Danum valley

Papilionidae

Papilioninae

Troides

amphrysus

Tapah Hills

Papilionidae

Papilioninae

Troides

helena

cerberus

Danum valley

Pieridae

Coliadinae

Catopsilia

pomona

Tapah Hills

Pieridae

Coliadinae

Catopsilia

pomona

Mulu

Pieridae

Coliadinae

Catopsilia

pomona

Mulu

Pieridae

Coliadinae

Dercas

gobrias

Mulu

Pieridae

Coliadinae

Eurema

blanda

Tapah Hills

Pieridae

Coliadinae

Eurema

hecabe

Mulu

Pieridae

Coliadinae

Gandaca

harina

Mulu

Pieridae

Pierinae

Appias

albina

Tapah Hills

Pieridae

Pierinae

Appias

cardena

Tapah Hills

Pieridae

Pierinae

Appias

libythea

Tapah Hills

Pieridae

Pierinae

Appias

lyncida

Danum valley

Pieridae

Pierinae

Hebomoia

glaucippe

Danum valley

Pieridae

Pierinae

Leptosia

nina

Mulu

Pieridae

Pierinae

Leptosia

nina

Tapah Hills

Pieridae

Pierinae

Leptosia

nina

Tapah Hills

Pieridae

Pierinae

Pareronia

valeria

Danum valley

Pieridae

Pierinae

Pareronia

valeria

Tapah Hills

Riodinidae

Riodininae

Abisara

geza

Mulu

Riodinidae

Riodininae

Abisara

geza

Mulu

Riodinidae

Riodininae

Abisara

saturata

Tapah Hills

Riodinidae

Riodininae

Paralaxita

damajanti

Mulu

Riodinidae

Riodininae

Zemeros

emesoides

Tapah Hills

Riodinidae

Riodininae

Zemeros

flegyas

 

 

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