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Sunday, 17 June 2012

Rare Swallowtail Butterflies

The Swallowtail butterflies are famous for their wing tails but very few can rival the tail length of this White Dragontail

Evidently, the White Dragontail does not have the typical characteristics of a swallowtail butterfly (i.e large and colourful). In fact, it is the smallest swallowtail in the world with a wingspan of around 4cm.

The colours of the White Dragontail may be dull, but its flight pattern is exceptional----agile and erratic like a dragonfly. It is rare in Hong Kong and can only be found in a small number of locations.  

Another distinctive feature of this butterfly is that the middle part of its forewings is transparent. This is unique in the swallowtail family. 

In contrast, the Common Birdwing is not only among the largest (wingspan upto 16cm) but also the brightest coloured butterflies of the world. 

Unlike the White Dragontail, the Common Birdwing does not have wing tails at all but has angular wings similar to the shape of bird wings. 

Unfortunately, their size and beautiful colours make the Birdwings very popular with butterfly collectors. In Hong Kong, they are the only butterflies listed as a conservation concern. The butterflies and the food plant of their larvae (Indian Birthwort) are protected by law.

Regarding the rarity of butterflies,  I think not many can beat this Common Mormon

Looking carefully, you will find that this butterfly seems to be born with just one wing tail while the other one somehow didn’t develop.  

I have seen tailless polymorphisms before but this butterfly is extraordinary.

More photos at Google+


John @ Beans and I on the Loose said...

You have the most wonderful assortment of birds and insects in Hong Kong. Am always fascinated.

Isidro Ortiz said...

Bonitas mariposas,las fotos escelentes.Saludos

Graham Edwards said...

Fascinating. As you say in your heading most people - myself included - tend to think of Hong Kong as urban even though I have wandered through the parks near the central area (Star Ferry area) of city and island. Next time I am there I shall look at it more closely and in a different light.

I have never seen such, to me exotic, butterflies in their natural habita although I do see plenty of the Monarch in New Zealand (where I live for 6 months of the year) .

Liz said...

What a wonderful post. Your butterflies are absolutely beautiful. The first one has incredible wings! They are all such wonderful shots! I'm glad you discovered my blog as it lead me to yours. I am your newest follower. :)

Kirsti said...

Todella kauniita ja erikoisia perhosia. Kiitos linkistä.

Meillä Suomessa ei ole näin isoja perhosia:)

Alan Pavey said...

Great pics of some stunning butterflies, a real pleasure to view your blog as always.

Breathtaking said...

Wonderful images of these spectacular butterflies.When I visited Hong Kong I did'nt see any
as beautiful as these.The Swallow tail is new to me.A real pleasure
to see.

Magia da Inês said...

A primeira borboleta é tão exótica, nunca tinha visto.
Suas imagens são muito bonitas.
Boa semana!

Nette Cecilia said...

They are so lovley your butterflies ,Have a nice day ,Nette

Eko said...

Mainioa Kuva-Sarja...
Uusia tuttavuuksia jokainen Perhonen.
Olipa mukava nähdä ja ihailla kuviasi.
Terveisin Eko
Kiitos vierailusta...

Arnoya Ari said...

Great butterflies, thank you for the pictures.

Giga said...

I ten malutki, i ten olbrzymi i ten rzadko spotykany, wszystkie są piękne. Dziękuję, ze mogłam je podziwiać i pozdrawiam.
And this tiny, and this huge and this rarely seen, they are all beautiful. Thank you, that I could admire them and greet.

Andrew said...

The White Dragontail is hard to photograph so these are especially good. Well done!