25 July 2013

Down Memory Lane - Singleton

Down Memory Lane
The Singleton (Una usta usta)

This small butterfly, known as the Singleton, was recorded in the checklists of the early collectors and the authors of the two main reference books on butterflies of Malaysia and Singapore. The male of the Singleton is deep brownish purple above, whilst the female is lighter but has a broad border on both wings. The underside is pale buff brown with prominent black spots on both wings.

It is not known why the butterfly disappeared from Singapore, or when it did. It is reported that the Singleton is nowhere considered common, even in Malaysia. However, on ButterflyCircle members' trips up north, males of this species are quite regularly encountered puddling on damp riverbanks. In looking back at the numerous butterfly surveys in Singapore, starting in the early 1990s, no one has thus far seen the Singleton. Will it be back here again one day? Or will it remain only in our memories and is gone forever from Singapore?

Butterflies Galore! : Orange Emigrant

Butterflies Galore!
The Orange Emigrant (Catopsilia scylla cornelia)

Amongst the three species of the genus Catopsilia in Singapore, the Orange Emigrant gets my vote for being the prettiest of the three. Fast-flying and erratic in flight, this Pierid is common and more so whenever its caterpillar host plants, Senna fistula and Senna surattensis are cultivated. The underside of the Orange Emigrant is orange-yellow with brown markings. The upperside of the forewings is white with black borders whilst the hindwings are orange-yellow.

This Orange Emigrant is feeding on the flower of the Lantana, an all-time favourite nectaring plant for butterflies. The pink variety, shown here, is less popular with butterflies compared to the orange and red varieties. The proboscis of the butterfly can be seen coated with pollen from the stamens of the flower. Butterflies are good pollinators of flowering plants when they go about feeding on nectar from the flowers.