16 August 2013

Down Memory Lane - Clipper

Down Memory Lane
The Clipper (Parthenos sylvia lilacinus)

This large and showy butterfly used to fly in the forested areas of Singapore, according to the early authors, who listed this species, the Clipper, as extant on their checklist for Singapore. The upperside of the Clipper is black with blue and green lines and stripes, with a large white post-discal patches on the forewing. The underside is similarly marked, but paler, and with the wing bases shaded a light blue. With an average wingspan of 40mm and more, it can hardly be missed.

It is able to fly strongly, gliding rapidly from perch to perch, usually stopping with its wings opened flat. The Clipper is a 'regular' at commercial butterfly parks in Malaysia. It is one of the species that is often seen at the Changi Airport Terminal 3 Butterfly Garden's butterfly aviary, which imports pupae from the Penang Butterfly Farm on a regular basis. It has not been reliably seen in the wild in Singapore for over 30 years. Why did it disappear from Singapore? Were its host plants wiped out? Will it be back here again one day? Or will it remain only in our memories and is gone forever from Singapore?


Andrea said...

Hello Commander-in-Chief! I don't know if we have it here, but i know we have the brown. I love that bluish hue better.

Commander said...

Yes, Andrea. The Philippines subspecies is orange brown instead of blue. That is the subspecies that flies in the enclosure here at Sentosa Butterfly Park.