Category Archives: Butterfly Sightings

Top and side views of the Chequered Lancer.

The Chequered Lancer Plastingia naga and the Yellow Chequered Lancer Plastingia pellonia are the only two Plastingia species in Singapore. Both are forest species and like to rest in the shade of the undergrowth with folded wings. The only time they open their wings is to bask in the sunshine when puddling. The former is uncommon and the latter is rarer.

Resting with folded wings under the shaded forest.

I have yet to see the Yellow Chequered Lancer but have encountered the Chequered Lancer on two occasions at Dairy Farm Nature Park and Upper Seletar Reservoir Park. Unfortunately they were too quick for me to get any photographs.

Over the year, there were several sightings of the Chequered Lancer along the forest trails at MacRitchie Reservoir, which I missed. So it was third time lucky when I came upon a tame individual resting by the side of the trail on 1st Sept 2022.

Underside view of the forewing showing the spots.

What made this encounter special was getting photos of the top view and the side views of their full wing spread. I cannot find any photos of the Yellow Chequered Lancer upper wings but I read that both look similar with the white spots of the Yellow Chequered Lancer appearing larger than the Chequered Lancer. Whereas the underside is very different. The markings of the Yellow Chequered Lancer are yellow while the Chequered Lancer markings are white, giving it a black and white chequered look.

The upper wings of both Plastingia look similar with the Chequered Lancer’s white spots being smaller.

Reference: Butterfly Circle Blog


Butterflies of Sabah.

By Alan OwYong.

We photographed 21 butterfly species during our 4 days of birding at the Trus Madi Conservation Area, Gunung Alab Substation and Mahua Waterfalls, all part of the Crocker Range of Sabah, from 14 t0 17 June 2022. One endemic and two sub endemic species.

Here are some of the butterflies that are not found or gone extinct in Singapore. Will appreciate any corrections on the identity and notes.

With David Tseu, Wilson Leung, Theresa Ng.

Mydosama pitana. Endemic to Borneo. Photographed at Trus Madi montane forest.
The Bornean subspecies of the Orange Gull. Cepora judith montana. We saw this by the roadside at around 500m and at the Mahua Waterfalls.
Common Mapwing. Cyrestis maenalis seminigra ( Northern Borneo). Puddling at the camp area.
Large Assyrian. A few seen near the camp area along the logging track
Black Prince at Gunung Alab
Straight-lined Mapwing. A butterfly found in South East Asia. Photographed at the Mahua Waterfalls
Potanthus sp. Mahua Waterfalls.
Great Orange Tip. Extinct in Singapore.
Great Orange Tip. Mimics a dead leaf when resting to avoid predators.

Butterflying to stay safe!

Just happy that I developed an interest in butterflies besides birds over the years. During this restricted gathering period, I preferred to go looking for butterflies in quieter nature areas like Upper Seletar Reservoir Park, Butterfly Hill in Ubin, Bukit Brown and SBG-Gallop Extension to get my nature fix.

Here are some of the beauties that I encountered this July. Some are moderately rare, most are common with one or two lifers in between. My thanks to Catalina Tong, Lim Kim Keang, Gan Cheong Weei, YT Choong, Lee Yue Teng, Lena Chow and Lawrence Leong for sharing their knowledge, showing me the butterflies and identifying them.

Plain Plushblue, the most common of the four Flos species found here. P. Ubin
Malay Plum Judy, the most common of the three Judys here. Always tricky to get a full side view as it twists and turns all the time. Can be found in our parks and gardens. P. Ubin
Common Redeye is uncommon. An unmistakable skipper with a red eyes and unmarked wings, Butterfly Hill, Ubin,
Dwarf Crow is the smallest in the Crow family. Locally and seasonally common. Butterfly Hill, Ubin.
Palm Bob, common and widespread after it was discovered in the 1990s. OCBC Arboretum. SBG-Gallop Ext.
Common Dartlet, common fast flying Oriens enjoying sunning near the ground. OCBC Arboretum. SGB Gallop Ext.
Great Helen, a large forest dependent swallowtail. This a male. USR.
Major Yellow Oakblue, Arhopala major. Common within the CCNR, tailess. USR`
I think this is a Dingy Line Blue, a small butterfly sunning itself at Bukit Brown Cemetery. ID corrected to Tailess Line Blue by Aaron Soh.


Biodiversity and Biome, NParks.

The Marco Jungle @ Upper Seletar Reservoir Park.

Undergrowth at the Upper Seletar Reservoir Park.

The Upper Seletar Reservoir Park is a gem of a place for insect and macro photographers. Rare forest butterflies, damselflies, spiders, flies and other critters can be found along the forest edges if you spent time looking for them. The rows of Syzygium zeylanicum when in bloom are a magnet for a host of butterflies and moths that are rarely seen outside the forest. Landscape planting of the Leea indica, Leea rubra and Ixoras provided added food sources for them.

A swamp forest habitat of our endemic fresh water crabs.

Spending a morning combing the forest edges early this week with Richard White, Laurence Leong and Lee Yue Teng opened a whole new world to the insect and understorey life for me. Star finds include a Scorpion, two Agamid lizards, cockroach, spider, a fly and some butts but surprisingly no damselflies.

Asian Forest Scorpion Heterometrus sp, a rare find in the daytime. Venom is not known to be lethal. Richard found it crawling along the tarmac and promptly brought it back to the forest.
First time seeing the underside of a forest cockroach. The six dots around the mouth is interesting.
The migrant Chocolate Albatross is still around. A total of six were counted at the park.
Long-legged Fly is a species of the Condylostylus genus. Feeds on aphids and other small insects.
The Common Three Ring used to be common here but is hard to find these days.
Subterranean Termites on the move.
Harvestmen or Daddy Long Legs. Over 6,000 species of this species have been discovered worldwide.
Black-beared Flying Lizard. Diurnal and noctunal, it inhabits the trees in mature forests.
Earless Agamid. This was found on the adjacent tree to the flying lizard. Aboral and diurnal, it is largely confined to the Central Forest. This is the only photo with showing the blue iris of the male.


Nick Baker and Kelvin Lim. Wild Animals of Singapore. NSS.

Biodiversity of Singapore. NParks.


Painted Wing Lifers

Thanks to Lim Kim Keang, Lena Chow and a few others, I now pay great attention to the butterflies I see along the way when I am out birding. Some days birding can be slow so there is no harm in looking down instead of up for these painted wings zipping around or resting under the leaves.  Adding birds to my national list of 335 is getting tough, but there are still hundred plus new butterflies that I have not seen in Singapore.

It helped that my micro four thirds Olympus OM-D set up with 70-300 mm birding lens allows me to get some decent shots of these creatures without having to change to a marco lens. Of course the results are not that spectacular but good enough for posting.

Some of the butterflies that I photographed last months include two lifers to kept the excitement going during these outings.


This Malayan Sunbeam at Bukit Batok NP was so engrossed with licking on the surface of the Simpong Ayer leaf, that it did not move at all. Obviously it did not get its name from the pale underside but rather from the bright orange of the upperside. The other sunbeam is the Sumatran found mostly around the mangroves.

Psyche at DFNP
The dainty Psyche was flying just above the grasses while I was trying to shoot the Crimson Sunbird at the Helliconia patch at Dairy Farm Nature Park. A forest edge butterfly , both sexes look alike.



We were at Dairy Farm Nature Park to shoot the Jambu Fruit Dove that was feeding on the False Curry Leaf Tree when this colorful day moth Dysphania subrepleta was struggling to fly. It may have just eclosed and needed some time before flying away to the safety of the greenery.

Common Five Rings
The Lord of the Rings, the Common Five Rings is the rarest of the Rings. Found in the same localities with the three and Four Rings. It is hard to separate from the other Rings in the field, so I was told to just photographed them. This was taken at Upper Seletar Reservoir Park. A week later I had another one at the car park at Hort Park.


The Centuar Oakblue is another lifer from Bidadari. I was there to check out the returning migrants and saw it flitting around a low bush. It is the biggest of the oakblues but easy to miss.

Reference: Gan Cheong Weei and Simon Chan Kee Mun. A pocket Field Guide to the Butterflies of Singapore. Nature Society (Singapore) 2007.  Steven Neo Say  Hian. A Guide to Common Butterflies of Singapore. Singapore Science Center. 1996

A Short Visit to Jurong Eco Gardens.


Made a short visit to Jurong Eco Gardens on Friday 8th September to check if any of the migrant flycatchers or shrikes were around. It was rather quiet for most of the morning. Even the usual residents were absent except for four Straw-headed Bulbuls and a pair of Oriental Magpie Robins. At least their melodious song livened up the place.

Magpie Robin at JEG
After so many years, this is the first time I managed to get this pose of the Oriental Magpie Robin. 

So the next best thing to do is to do some butterfly watching even though the Leea indica plants were past their flowering. Luckily the butterflies were out in force even if they are the more common species.

Leea indica
The Leea indicas were all past flowering. Morning dew hanging on the buds of the Leea indica.

The Common Mormons were easy to see, so was a Common Birdwing. The rarer Grey Pansies were chasing each other in the company of the Chocolate Pansies. But the summit was quiet this morning, no signs of the Lesser Harlequins.

Grey Pansy at JEG
Grey Pansy, the rarest of the four species of pansies enjoying the sunshine. Surprised to see a few of them around. 

Two Leopards were flying around the Weeping Willow trees, their host plant, by the side of the pond.

Leopard at its host plant
Leopard at its host plant

Like some alien species, this young shoot of the Elephant Foot Fern.

Elephant foot Yam
Vulnerable Elephant Foot’s Fern.

Commom Mormon at JEG
The Polytes female form of Commom Mormon feeding on the Lantana.

The Traveler’s Palm from Madagascar is not a true palm. It is elegant looking but is out of favor as the base of its fronds trap water for mosquitoes to breed. I found only a small cluster here.

p9092208 Symmetricand colorful patterns of the Travelers Palm

Found several new species of butterflies in the park.

Forest Butterflies at our Reservoir Parks

30th August 2016

Butterfly watching is somewhat different from birding but just as absorbing.  For one thing they are smaller and harder to identify in the field. The best part I like about it is not having to wake up at the break of dawn, as the butterflies are active much later in the morning. Lim Kim Keang, veteran birder and a keen butterfly watcher first got me interested in butterflies. On some slow birding days I got a chance to do some butterfly watching with him and also learn from other members of the Butterfly and Insect Group.

Mango Hawk Moth at USR
Mango Hawk Moth, about half the size of my palm, found by Yong Yik Shih

Recently I was fascinated with the forest butterflies that were seen at our reservoir parks. Some of the rarer ones are found at the host plants inside the forests, which is not very accessible. But they will move out when the plants along the forest edges flower.

Humming Bird Moth at USR
I have been always wanting to get this Humming Bird Moth on my sensors. They were also attracted to the nectar of the Sycygium flowers.

Early this month a row of Syzygium spp at the Upper Seletar Reservoir Park bloomed. I was lucky to see a proliferation of rare Awls, Snow Flats and Skippers that were not normally seen outside the forests. To top it all we had a rare mango moth to end the season. I had a total of eleven lifers thanks to the help from so many butterfly experts I met there. Here are some of the butterflies and insects we managed to get on our sensors during those few mornings.

Robberfly at USR
This Robber fFy was found inside the trails of the Seletar Forest.


Common Snow Flat at USR
Common Snow Flat is a sun loving butterfly and likes to bask with opened wings

Brown Awl at USR
Brown Awls were out in force on all the days when we were there.

Ultra Snow Flat at USR
You can only see small white specks zipping around. They are the Snow Flats. The Ultra has more markings at the base of the hind wings.

Malay Lascar at USR
Malayan Lascar is very similar to the Common Lascar but are less common. Do comes down to the ground to feed.

Tree Flitter at USR
Tree Flitter, a small skipper is not easily seen. Spotted by Chan Yiu Nam.

Pale Mottle at USR
Pale Mottle likes underside of leaves that are infested with Asphids. Like the ants they are attracted to the secretions of the Asphids.

Common Posy at USR
Common Posy looks like the Branded Imperial but has more black Stripes on its hind wings. Often returns to the same sun lit spot. 

Darky Plushblue at USR
Darky Plushblue was the rarest butt seen during the past few days, thanks to the Kim Keang’s sharp eyes 

Cruiser at USR
A low perspective of a uncommon Cruiser. Loves to feed on excrement and dead animals.

Hoary Palmer at USR
This fairly large Skipper, the Hoary Palmer was really friendly and stayed around for all of us to get our shots. The heighten White hind wings are good id features.


The Purple Duke is the only butterfly in its genus found here and Malaysia. When disturbed it will zipped away and hide at the underside of leaves with folded wings.

Male Form Gardineri Baron
Unfortunately this is not the White-tipped Baron that Lena Chow saw the day before. It is a male Form Gardineri Baron.

Malayan Snow Flat
Malayan Snow Flat is rarer than the look alike Ultra. This was pointed out to me by by Khew Sin Khoon.

White Banded Awl
The White Banded Awl should have a more colorful name. When the hind wings catch the sunlight, you can see the purplish sheen on it like in this photo.


Acknowledgement: I like to thank Lim Kim Keang, Khew Sin Khoon, Yong Yik Shih, Lena Chow and Chan Yiu Nam for showing me these butterflies and how to identify them. 

Reference: A Field Guide to the Butterflies of Singapore. Gan Cheong Weei and Simon Chan. A Guide to the Common Butterflies of Singapore. Steven Neo. Butterfly Circle Butterflies Checklist.

From Birds to Butts.

Plane feeding on Syzygium sp
Rare male Plane feeding on Syzygium sp. This butterfly was the main attraction.

What does a birder do when the birds are quiet and lifers are hard to come by? Luckily in Singapore, there are many other fauna to check out. Thanks to Kim Keang’s alert earlier this week, I went butting or butterfly shooting at a reservoir park.

Suffused Flash
The Suffused Flash is a small butterfly that is easily missed.

Slated Flash
Is this a Flash or a Royal? Still waiting for an ID.

In two days I ended up with eight lifers, some uncommon and a few rare butterflies. I don’t remembered seeing so many new and rare birds in two days in my years of birding. I was told that the flowering Syzygium species at the edge of the Central forest was the reason why so many hard to see butterfly species were seen. Besides the butterflies, there were hoverfly, beetles and moths to keep me busy.

White Banded Awl
White Banded Awl pointed out to me by Soon Chye

Brown Awl
Brown Awl is rather rare and hard to spot

Malay Lacewing
Malay Lacewing. Missed the Plain Lacewing.

Little Malpet
Hard to shoot Little Malpet

Vinous Oakblue
Vinous Oakblue


Tiger Bettle
One of the many Tiger Beetles found in our forests.